LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Life of Byron: 1821

Life of Byron: to 1806
Life of Byron: 1806
Life of Byron: 1807
Life of Byron: 1808
Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
‣ Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“Ravenna, January 4th, 1821.

“‘A sudden thought strikes me.’ Let me begin a Journal once more. The last I kept was in Switzerland, in record of a tour made in the Bernese Alps, which I made to send to my sister in 1816, and I suppose that she has it still, for she wrote to me that she was pleased with it. Another, and longer, I kept in 1813-1814, which I gave to Thomas Moore in the same year.

“This morning I gat me up late, as usual—weather bad—bad as England—worse. The snow of last week melting to the sirocco of to-day, so that there were two d—d things at once. Could not even get to ride on horseback in the forest. Staid at home all the morning—looked at the fire—wondered when the post would come. Post came at the Ave Maria, instead of half-past one o’clock, as it ought. Galignani’s Messengers, six in number—a letter from Faenza, but none from England. Very sulky in consequence (for there ought to have been letters), and ate in consequence a copious dinner; for when I am vexed, it makes me swallow quicker—but drank very little.

“I was out of spirits—read the papers—thought what fame was, on reading, in a case of murder, that ‘Mr. Wych, grocer, at Tunbridge, sold some bacon, flour, cheese, and, it is believed, some plums, to some gipsy woman accused. He had on his counter (I quote faithfully) a book, the Life of Pamela, which he was tearing for waste paper, &c. &c. In the cheese was found, &c., and a leaf of wrapt round the bacon.
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What would
Richardson, the vainest and luckiest of living authors (i. e. while alive)—he who, with Aaron Hill, used to prophesy and chuckle over the presumed fall of Fielding (the prose Homer of human nature) and of Pope (the most beautiful of poets)—what would he have said could he have traced his pages from their place on the French prince’s toilets (see Boswell’s Johnson) to the grocer’s counter and the gipsy-murderess’s bacon!!!

“What would he have said? what can any body say, save what Solomon said long before us? After all, it is but passing from one counter to another, from the bookseller’s to the other tradesman’s—grocer or pastry-cook. For my part, I have met with most poetry upon trunks; so that I am apt to consider the trunk-maker as the sexton of authorship.

“Wrote five letters in about half an hour, short and savage, to all my rascally correspondents. Carriage came. Heard the news of three murders at Faenza and Forli—a carabinier, a smuggler, and an attorney—all last night. The two first in a quarrel, the latter by premeditation.

“Three weeks ago—almost a month—the 7th it was—I picked up the Commandant, mortally wounded, out of the street; he died in my house; assassins unknown, but presumed political. His brethren wrote from Rome last night to thank me for having assisted him in his last moments. Poor fellow! it was a pity; he was a good soldier, but imprudent. It was eight in the evening when they killed him. We heard the shot; my servants and I ran out, and found him expiring, with five wounds, two whereof mortal—by slugs they seemed. I examined him, but did not go to the dissection next morning.

“Carriage at 8 or so—went to visit La Contessa G.—found her playing on the piano-forte—talked till ten, when the Count, her father, and the no less Count, her brother, came in from the theatre. Play, they said, Alfieri’s Filippo—well received.

“Two days ago the King of Naples passed through Bologna on his way to congress. My servant Luigi brought the news. I had sent him to Bologna for a lamp. How will it end? Time will show.

“Came home at eleven, or rather before. If the road and weather are conformable, mean to ride to-morrow. High time—almost a week at this work—snow, sirocco, one day—frost and snow the other—sad
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climate for Italy. But the two seasons, last and present, are extraordinary. Read a Life of
Leonardo da Vinci by Rossi—ruminated—wrote this much, and will go to bed.

“January 5th, 1821.

“Rose late—dull and drooping—the weather dripping and dense. Snow on the ground, and sirocco above in the sky, like yesterday. Roads up to the horse’s belly, so that riding (at least for pleasure) is not very feasible. Added a postscript to my letter to Murray. Read the conclusion, for the fiftieth time (I have read all W. Scott’s novels at least fifty times) of the third series of ‘Tales of my Landlord,’—grand work—Scotch Fielding, as well as great English poet—wonderful man! I long to get drunk with him.

“Dined versus six o’ the clock. Forgot that there was a plum-pudding (I have added, lately, eating to my ‘family of vices’), and had dined before I knew it. Drank half a bottle of some sort of spirits—probably spirits of wine; for, what they call brandy, rum, &c. &c. here is nothing but spirits of wine, coloured accordingly. Did not eat two apples, which were placed, by way of dessert. Fed the two cats, the hawk, and the tame (but not tamed) crow. Read Mitford’s History of GreeceXenophon’s Retreat of the Ten Thousand. Up to this present moment writing, 6 minutes before eight o’ the clock—French hours, not Italian.

“Hear the carriage—order pistols and great coat, as usual—necessary articles. Weather cold—carriage open, and inhabitants somewhat savage—rather treacherous and highly inflamed by politics. Fine fellows, though—good materials for a nation. Out of chaos God made a world, and out of high passions comes a people.

“Clock strikes—going out to make love. Somewhat perilous, but not disagreeable. Memorandum—a new screen put up to-day. It is rather antique, but will do with a little repair.

“Thaw continues—hopeful that riding may be practicable to-morrow. Sent the papers to Alli—grand events coming.

“11 o’ the clock and nine minutes. Visited La Contessa G. Nata G. G. Found her beginning my letter of answer to the thanks of
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Alessio del Pinto of Rome for assisting his brother the late Commandant in his last moments, as I had begged her to pen my reply for the purer Italian, I being an ultra-montane, little skilled in the set phrase of Tuscany. Cut short the letter—finish it another day. Talked of Italy, patriotism. Alfieri, Madame Albany, and other branches of learning. Also Sallust’s Conspiracy of Catiline, and the War of Jugurtha. At 9 came in her brother, Il Conte Pietro—at 10, her father, Conte Ruggiero.

“Talked of various modes of warfare—of the Hungarian and Highland modes of broadsword exercise, in both whereof I was once a moderate ‘master of fence.’ Settled that the R. will break out on the 7th or 8th of March, in which appointment I should trust, had it not been settled that it was to have broken out in October, 1820. But those Bolognese shirked the Romagnuoles.

“‘It is all one to Ranger.’ One must not be particular, but take rebellion when it lies in the way. Came home—read the ‘Ten Thousand’ again, and will go to bed.

“Mem.—Ordered Fletcher (at four o’clock this afternoon) to copy out 7 or 8 apophthegms of Bacon, in which I have detected such blunders as a schoolboy might detect, rather than commit. Such are the sages! What must they be, when such as I can stumble on their mistakes or mistatements? I will go to bed, for I find that I grow cynical.

“January 6th, 1821.

“Mist—thaw—slop—rain. No stirring out on horseback. Read Spence’s Anecdotes. Pope a fine fellow—always thought him so. Corrected blunders in nine apophthegms of Bacon—all historical—and read Mitford’s Greece. Wrote an epigram. Turned to a passage in Guinguené—ditto, in Lord Holland’s Lope de Vega. Wrote a note on Don Juan.

“At eight went out to visit. Heard a little music—like music. Talked with Count Pietro G. of the Italian comedian Vestris, who is now at Rome—have seen him often act in Venice—a good actor—very. Somewhat of a mannerist; but excellent in broad comedy, as well as in the sentimental pathetic. He has made me frequently laugh
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and cry, neither of which is now a very easy matter—at least, for a player to produce in me.

“Thought of the state of women under the ancient Greeks—convenient enough. Present state, a remnant of the barbarism of the chivalry and feudal ages—artificial and unnatural. They ought to mind home—and be well fed and clothed—but not mixed in society. Well educated, too, in religion—but to read neither poetry nor politics—nothing but books of piety and cookery. Music—drawing—dancing—also a little gardening and ploughing now and then. I have seen them mending the roads in Epirus with good success. Why not, as well as hay-making and milking?

“Came home, and read Mitford again, and played with my mastiff—gave him his supper. Made another reading to the epigram, but the turn the same. To-night at the theatre, there being a prince on his throne in the last scene of the comedy,—the audience laughed, and asked him for a Constitution. This shows the state of the public mind here as well as the assassinations. It won’t do. There must be an universal republic,—and there ought to be.

The crow is lame of a leg—wonder how it happened—some fool trod upon his toe, I suppose. The falcon pretty brisk—the cats large and noisy—the monkeys I have not looked to since the cold weather, as they suffer by being brought up. Horses must be gay—get a ride as soon as weather serves. Deuced muggy still—an Italian winter is a sad thing, but all the other seasons are charming.

“What is the reason that I have been, all my lifetime, more or less ennuyé? and that, if any thing, I am rather less so now than I was at twenty, as far as my recollection serves? I do not know how to answer this, but presume that it is constitutional,—as well as the waking in low spirits, which I have invariably done for many years. Temperance and exercise, which I have practised at times, and for a long time together vigorously and violently, made little or no difference. Violent passions did;—when under their immediate influence—it is odd, but—I was in agitated, but not in depressed spirits.

“A dose of salts has the effect of a temporary inebriation, like light champagne, upon me. But wine and spirits make me sullen and savage
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to ferocity—silent, however, and retiring, and not quarrelsome, if not spoken to. Swimming also raises my spirits,—but in general they are low, and get daily lower. That is hopeless; for I do not think I am so much ennuyé as I was at nineteen. The proof is, that then I must game, or drink, or be in motion of some kind, or I was miserable. At present, I can mope in quietness; and like being alone better than any company—except the lady’s whom I serve. But I feel a something, which makes me think that, if I ever reach near to old age, like
Swift, ‘I shall die at top’ first. Only I do not dread idiotism or madness so much as he did. On the contrary, I think some quieter stages of both must be preferable to much of what men think the possession of their senses.

“January 7th, 1821, Sunday.

“Still rain—mist—snow—drizzle—and all the incalculable combinations of a climate, where heat and cold struggle for mastery. Read Spence, and turned over Roscoe, to find a passage I have not found. Read the 4th vol. of W. Scott’s second series of ‘Tales of my Landlord.’ Dined. Read the Lugano Gazette. Read—I forget what. At 8 went to conversazione. Found there the Countess Geltrude, Betti V. and her husband, and others. Pretty black-eyed woman that—only twenty-two—same age as Teresa, who is prettier, though.

“The Count Pietro G. took me aside to say that the Patriots have had notice from Forli (twenty miles off) that to-night the government and its party mean to strike a stroke—that the Cardinal here has had orders to make several arrests immediately, and that, in consequence, the Liberals are arming, and have posted patroles in the streets, to sound the alarm and give notice to fight for it.

“He asked me ‘what should be done?’—I answered ‘fight for it, rather than be taken in detail;’ and offered, if any of them are in immediate apprehension of arrest, to receive them in my house (which is defensible), and to defend them, with my servants and themselves (we have arms and ammunition), as long as we can,—or to try to get them away under cloud of night. On going home, I offered him the pistols which I had about me—but he refused, but said he would come off to me in case of accidents.

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“It wants half an hour of midnight, and rains;—as Gibbet says. ‘a fine night for their enterprise—dark as hell, and blows like the devil.’ If the row don’t happen now, it must soon. I thought that their system of shooting people would soon produce a reaction—and now it seems coming. I will do what I can in the way of combat, though a little out of exercise. The cause is a good one.

“Turned over and over half a score of books for the passage in question, and can’t find it. Expect to hear the drum and the musquetry momently (for they swear to resist, and are right)—but I hear nothing, as yet, save the plash of the rain and the gusts of the wind, at intervals. Don’t like to go to bed, because I hate to be waked, and would rather sit up for the row, if there is to be one.

“Mended the fire—have got the arms—and a book or two, which I shall turn over. I know little of their numbers, but think the Carbonari strong enough to beat the troops, even here. With twenty men this house might be defended for twenty-four hours against any force to be brought against it now in this place, for the same time; and, in such a time, the country would have notice, and would rise,—if ever they will rise, of which there is some doubt. In the mean time, I may as well read as do any thing else, being alone.

“January 8th, 1821, Monday.

“Rose, and found Count P. G. in my apartments. Sent away the servant. Told me that, according to the best information, the Government had not issued orders for the arrests apprehended; that the attack in Forli had not taken place (as expected) by the Sanfedisti—the opponents of the Carbonari or Liberals—and that, as yet, they are still in apprehension only. Asked me for some arms of a better sort, which I gave him. Settled that, in case of a row, the Liberals were to assemble here (with me), and that he had given the word to Vincenzo G. and others of the Chiefs for that purpose. He himself and father are going to the chase in the forest; but V. G. is to come to me, and an express to be sent off to him, P. G., if any thing occurs. Concerted operations. They are to seize—but no matter.

“I advised them to attack in detail, and in different parties, in
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different places (though at the same time), so as to divide the attention of the troops, who, though few, yet being disciplined, would beat any body of people (not trained) in a regular fight—unless dispersed in small parties, and distracted with different assaults. Offered to let them assemble here, if they choose. It is a strongish post—narrow street, commanded from within—and tenable walls. * * * * *

“Dined. Tried on a new coat. Letter to Murray, with corrections of Bacon’s Apophthegms and an epigram—the latter not for publication. At eight went to Teresa, Countess G. * * * * * * At nine and a-half came Il Conte P. and Count P. G. Talked of a certain proclamation lately issued. Count R. G. had been with * * (the * *), to sound him about the arrests. He, * *, is a trimmer, and deals, at present, his cards with both hands. If he don’t mind, they’ll be full. * * pretends (I doubt him—they don’t,—we shall see) that there is no such order, and seems staggered by the immense exertions of the Neapolitans, and the fierce spirit of the Liberals here. The truth is, that * * cares for little but his place (which is a good one), and wishes to play pretty with both parties. He has changed his mind thirty times these last three moons, to my knowledge, for he corresponds with me. But he is not a bloody fellow—only an avaricious one.

“It seems that, just at this moment (as Lydia Languish says) there will be no elopement after all. I wish that I had known as much last night—or, rather, this morning—I should have gone to bed two hours earlier. And yet I ought not to complain; for, though it is a sirocco, and heavy rain, I have not yawned for these two days.

“Came home—read History of Greece—before dinner had read Walter Scott’s Rob Roy. Wrote address to the letter in answer to Alessio del Pinto, who has thanked me for helping his brother (the late Commandant, murdered here last month) in his last moments. Have told him I only did a duty of humanity—as is true. The brother lives at Rome.

“Mended the fire with some ‘sgobole,’ (a Romagnuole word) and gave the falcon some water. Drank some Seltzer-water. Mem.—received to-day a print, or etching, of the story of Ugolino, by an Italian
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painter—different, of course, from
Sir Joshua Reynolds’s, and I think (as far as recollection goes) no worse, for Reynolds’s is not good in history. Tore a button in my new coat.

“I wonder what figure these Italians will make in a regular row. I sometimes think that, like the Irishman’s gun (somebody had sold him a crooked one), they will only do for ‘shooting round a corner;’ at least, this sort of shooting has been the late tenor of their exploits. And yet, there are materials in this people, and a noble energy, if well directed. But who is to direct them? No matter. Out of such times heroes spring. Difficulties are the hot-beds of high spirits, and Freedom the mother of the few virtues incident to human nature.

“Tuesday, January 9th, 1821.

“Rose—the day fine. Ordered the horses; but Lega (my secretary, an Italianism for steward or chief servant) coming to tell me that the painter had finished the work in fresco, for the room he has been employed on lately, I went to see it before I set out. The painter has not copied badly the prints from Titian, &c. considering all things. * * * * * * * *

“Dined. Read Johnson’sVanity of Human Wishes,’—all the examples and mode of giving them sublime, as well as the latter part, with the exception of an occasional couplet. I do not so much admire the opening. I remember an observation of Sharpe’s (the Conversationist, as he was called in London, and a very clever man) that the first line of this poem was superfluous, and that Pope (the best of poets, I think,) would have begun at once, only changing the punctuation—
‘Survey mankind from China to Peru!’
The former line, ‘Let observation,’ &c. is certainly heavy and useless. But ’tis a grand poem—and so true!—true as the 10th of
Juvenal himself. The lapse of ages changes all things—time—language—the earth—the bounds of the sea—the stars of the sky, and every thing ‘about, around, and underneath’ man, except man himself, who has always been, and always will be, an unlucky rascal. The infinite variety of lives conduct but to death, and the infinity of wishes lead but to disappointment.
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All the discoveries which have yet been made have multiplied little but existence. An extirpated disease is succeeded by some new pestilence; and a discovered world has brought little to the old one, except the p— first and freedom afterwards—the latter a fine thing, particularly as they gave it to Europe in exchange for slavery. But it is doubtful whether ‘the Sovereigns’ would not think the first the best present of the two to their subjects.

“At eight went out—heard some news. They say the king of Naples has declared, by couriers from Florence to the Powers (as they call now those wretches with crowns) that his Constitution was compulsive, &c. &c. and that the Austrian barbarians are placed again on war pay, and will march. Let them—‘they come like sacrifices in their trim,’ the hounds of hell! Let it still be a hope to see their bones piled like those of the human dogs at Morat, in Switzerland, which I have seen.

“Heard some music. At nine the usual visitors—news, war, or rumours of war. Consulted with P. G., &c &c. They mean to insurrect here, and are to honour me with a call thereupon. I shall not fall back; though I don’t think them in force or heart sufficient to make much of it. But, onward!—it is now the time to act, and what signifies self, if a single spark of that which would be worthy of the past can be bequeathed unquenchedly to the future? It is not one man, nor a million, but the spirit of liberty which must be spread. The waves which dash upon the shore are, one by one, broken, but yet the ocean conquers, nevertheless. It overwhelms the Armada, it wears the rock, and, if the Neptunians are to be believed, it has not only destroyed, but made a world. In like manner, whatever the sacrifice of individuals, the great cause will gather strength, sweep down what is rugged, and fertilize (for sea-weed is manure) what is cultivable. And so, the mere selfish calculation ought never to be made on such occasions; and, at present, it shall not be computed by me. I was never a good arithmetician of chances, and shall not commence now.

“January 10th, 1821.

“Day fine—rained only in the morning. Looked over accounts. Read Campbell’s Poets—marked errors of Tom (the author) for cor-
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rection. Dined—went out—music—Tyrolese air, with variations. Sustained the cause of the original simple air against the variations of the Italian school. * * * * * * * *

“Politics somewhat tempestuous, and cloudier daily. To-morrow being foreign post-day, probably something more will be known.

“Came home—read. Corrected Tom Campbell’s slips of the pen. A good work, though—style affected—but his defence of Pope is glorious. To be sure, it is his own cause too,—but no matter, it is very good, and does him great credit.


“I have been turning over different Lives of the Poets. I rarely read their works, unless an occasional flight over the classical ones, Pope, Dryden, Johnson, Gray, and those who approach them nearest (I leave the rant of the rest to the cant of the day), and—I had made several reflections, but I feel sleepy, and may as well go to bed.

“January 11th, 1821.

“Read the letters. Corrected the tragedy and the ‘Hints from Horace.’ Dined, and got into better spirits. Went out—returned—finished letters, five in number. Read Poets, and an anecdote in Spence.

Alli. writes to me that the Pope, and Duke of Tuscany, and King of Sardinia, have also been called to Congress; but the Pope will only deal there by proxy. So the interests of millions are in the hands of about twenty coxcombs, at a place called Leibach!

“I should almost regret that my own affairs went well, when those of nations are in peril. If the interests of mankind could be essentially bettered (particularly of these oppressed Italians), I should not so much mind my own ‘sma’ peculiar.’ God grant us all better times, or more philosophy.

In reading, I have just chanced upon an expression of Tom Campbell’s;—speaking of Collins, he says that ‘no reader cares any more about the characteristic manners of his Eclogues than about the authenticity of the tale of Troy.’ ’Tis false—we do care about ‘the authenticity
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of the tale of Troy.’ I have stood upon that plain daily, for more than a month, in 1810; and, if any thing diminished my pleasure, it was that the blackguard
Bryant had impugned its veracity. It is true I read ‘Homer Travestied’ (the first twelve books), because Hobhouse and others bored me with their learned localities, and I love quizzing. But I still venerated the grand original as the truth of history (in the material facts) and of place. Otherwise, it would have given me no delight. Who will persuade me, when I reclined upon a mighty tomb, that it did not contain a hero?—its very magnitude proved this. Men do not labour over the ignoble and petty dead—and why should not the dead be Homer’s dead? The secret of Tom Campbell’s defence of inaccuracy in costume and description is, that his Gertrude, &c. has no more locality in common with Pennsylvania than with Penmanmaur. It is notoriously full of grossly false scenery, as all Americans declare, though they praise parts of the Poem. It is thus that self-love for ever creeps out, like a snake, to sting any thing which happens, even accidentally, to stumble upon it.

“January 12th, 1821.

“The weather still so humid and impracticable, that London, in its most oppressive fogs, were a summer-bower to this mist and sirocco, which has now lasted (but with one day’s interval), chequered with snow or heavy rain only, since the 30th of December, 1820. It is so far lucky that I have a literary turn;—but it is very tiresome not to be able to stir out, in comfort, on any horse but Pegasus, for so many days. The roads are even worse than the weather, by the long splashing, and the heavy soil, and the growth of the waters.

“Read the Poets—English, that is to say—out of Campbell’s edition. There is a good deal of taffeta in some of Tom’s prefatory phrases, but his work is good as a whole. I like him best, though, in his own poetry.

Murray writes that they want to act the Tragedy of Marino Faliero;—more fools they, it was written for the closet. I have protested against this piece of usurpation (which, it seems, is legal for managers over any printed work, against the author’s will), and I hope they will not attempt it. Why don’t they bring out some of the
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numberless aspirants for theatrical celebrity, now encumbering their shelves, instead of lugging me out of the library? I have written a fierce protest against any such attempt, but I still would hope that it will not be necessary, and that they will see, at once, that it is not intended for the stage. It is too regular—the time, twenty-four hours—the change of place not frequent—nothing melodramatic—no surprises, no starts, nor trap-doors, nor opportunities ‘for tossing their heads and kicking their heels’—and no love—the grand ingredient of a modern play.

“I have found out the seal cut on Murray’s letter. It is meant for Walter Scott—or Sir Walter—he is the first poet knighted since Sir Richard Blackmore. But it does not do him justice. Scott’s—particularly when he recites—is a very intelligent, countenance, and this seal says nothing.

Scott is certainly the most wonderful writer of the day. His novels are a new literature in themselves, and his poetry as good as any—if not better (only on an erroneous system)—and only ceased to be so popular, because the vulgar learned were tired of hearing ‘Aristides called the Just,’ and Scott the Best, and ostracised him.

“I like him, too for his manliness of character, for the extreme pleasantness of his conversation, and his good-nature towards myself, personally. May he prosper!—for he deserves it. I know no reading to which I fall with such alacrity as a work of W. Scott’s. I shall give the seal, with his bust on it, to Madame la Contesse G. this evening, who will be curious to have the effigies of a man so celebrated.

“How strange are our thoughts, &c. &c. &c.*


“Read the Italian translation by Guido Sorelli of the German Grillparzer—a devil of a name, to be sure, for posterity; but they must learn to pronounce it. With all the allowance for a translation, and, above all, an Italian translation (they are the very worst of translators, except from the Classics—Annibale Caro, for instance—and there, the

* Here follows a long passage, already extracted, relative to his early friend, Edward Noel Long.

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bastardy of their language helps them, as, by way of looking legitimate, they ape their fathers’ tongue)—but with every allowance for such a disadvantage, the tragedy of Sappho is superb and sublime! There is no denying it. The man has done a great thing in writing that play. And who is he? I know him not; but ages will. ’Tis a high intellect.

“I must premise, however, that I have read nothing of Adolph Müllner’s (the author of ‘Guilt’), and much less of Goëthe, and Schiller, and Wieland than I could wish. I only know them through the medium of English, French, and Italian translations. Of the real language I know absolutely nothing,—except oaths learnt from postilions and officers in a squabble. I can swear in German potently, when I like—‘Sacrament—Verfluchter—Hundsfott’—and so forth; but I have little of their less energetic conversation.

“I like, however, their women (I was once so desperately in love with a German woman, Constance), and all that I have read, translated, of their writings, and all that I have seen on the Rhine of their country and people—all, except the Austrians, whom I abhor, loathe, and—I cannot find words for my hate of them, and should be sorry to find deeds correspondent to my hate; for I abhor cruelty more than I abhor the Austrians—except on an impulse, and then I am savage—but not deliberately so.

Grillparzer is grand—antique—not so simple as the ancients, but very simple for a modern—too Madame de Staël-ish, now and then—but altogether a great and goodly writer.

“January 13th, 1821, Saturday.

“Sketched the outline and Drams. Pers. of an intended tragedy of Sardanapalus, which I have for some time meditated. Took the names from Diodorus Siculus (I know the history of Sardanapalus, and have known it since I was twelve years old), and read over a passage in the ninth vol. octavo of Mitford’s Greece, where he rather vindicates the memory of this last of the Assyrians.

“Dined—news come—the Powers mean to war with the peoples. The intelligence seems positive—let it be so—they will be beaten in the end. The king-times are fast finishing. There will be blood shed like
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 409
water, and tears like mist; but the peoples will conquer in the end. I shall not live to see it, but I foresee it.

“I carried Teresa the Italian translation of Grillparzer’s Sappho, which she promises to read. She quarrelled with me, because I said that love was not the loftiest theme for true tragedy; and, having the advantage of her native language, and natural female eloquence, she overcame my fewer arguments. I believe she was right. I must put more love into ‘Sardanapalus’ than I intended. I speak, of course, if the times will allow me leisure. That if will hardly be a peacemaker.

“January 14th, 1821.

“Turned over Seneca’s tragedies. Wrote the opening lines of the intended tragedy of Sardanapalus. Rode out some miles into the forest. Misty and rainy. Returned—dined—wrote some more of my tragedy.

“Read Diodorus Siculus—turned over Seneca, and some other books. Wrote some more of the tragedy. Took a glass of grog. After having ridden hard in rainy weather, and scribbled, and scribbled again, the spirits (at least mine) need a little exhilaration, and I don’t like laudanum now as I used to do. So I have mixed a glass of strong waters and single waters, which I shall now proceed to empty. Therefore and thereunto I conclude this day’s diary.

“The effect of all wines and spirits upon me is, however, strange. It settles, but it makes me gloomy—gloomy at the very moment of their effect, and not gay hardly ever. But it composes for a time, though sullenly.

“January 15th, 1821.

“Weather fine. Received visit. Rode out into the forest—fired pistols. Returned home—dined—dipped into a volume of Mitford’s Greece—wrote part of a scene of ‘Sardanapalus.’ Went out—heard some music—heard some politics. More ministers from the other Italian powers gone to Congress. War seems certain—in that case, it will be a savage one. Talked over various important matters with one of the initiated. At ten and half returned home.

“I have just thought of something odd. In the year 1814, Moore (‘the poet,’ par excellence, and he deserves it) and I were going together,
410 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
in the same carriage, to dine with
Earl Grey, the Capo Politico of the remaining whigs. Murray, the magnificent, (the illustrious publisher of that name), had just sent me a Java gazette—I know not why, or wherefore. Pulling it out, by way of curiosity, we found it to contain a dispute (the said Java gazette) on Moore’s merits and mine. I think, if I had been there, that I could have saved them the trouble of disputing on the subject. But, there is fame for you at six and twenty! Alexander had conquered India at the same age; but I doubt if he was disputed about, or his conquests compared with those of Indian Bacchus, at Java.

“It was great fame to be named with Moore; greater to be compared with him; greatest—pleasure, at least—to be with him; and, surely, an odd coincidence, that we should be dining together while they were quarrelling about us beyond the equinoctial line.

“Well, the same evening, I met Lawrence, the painter, and heard one of Lord Grey’s daughters (a fine, tall, spirit-looking girl, with much of the patrician, thorough-bred look of her father, which I dote upon) play on the harp, so modestly and ingenuously, that she looked music. Well, I would rather have had my talk with Lawrence (who talked delightfully) and heard the girl, than have had all the fame of Moore and me put together.

“The only pleasure of fame is that it paves the way to pleasure; and the more intellectual our pleasure, the better for the pleasure and for us too. It was, however, agreeable to have heard our fame before dinner, and a girl’s harp after.

“January 16th, 1821.

“Read—rode—fired pistols—returned—dined—wrote—visited—heard music—talked nonsense—and went home.

“Wrote part of a Tragedy—advance in Act 1st with ‘all deliberate speed.’ Bought a blanket. The weather is still muggy as a London May—mist, mizzle, the air replete with Scotticisms, which, though fine in the descriptions of Ossian, are somewhat tiresome in real, prosaic perspective. Politics still mysterious.

“January 17th, 1821,

“Rode i’ the forest—fired pistols—dined. Arrived a packet of books from England and Lombardy—English, Italian, French, and Latin. Read till eight—went out.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 411
“January 18th, 1821.

“To-day, the post arriving late, did not ride. Read letters—only two gazettes, instead of twelve now due. Made Lega write to that negligent Galignani, and added a postscript. Dined.

“At eight proposed to go out. Lega came in with a letter about a bill unpaid at Venice, which I thought paid months ago. I flew into a paroxysm of rage, which almost made me faint. I have not been well ever since. I deserve it for being such a fool—but it was provoking—a set of scoundrels! It is, however, but five and twenty pounds.

“January 19th, 1821.

“Rode. Winter’s wind somewhat more unkind than ingratitude itself, though Shakspeare says otherwise. At least, I am so much more accustomed to meet with ingratitude than the north wind, that I thought the latter the sharper of the two. I had met with both in the course of the twenty-four hours, so could judge.

“Thought of a plan of education for my daughter Allegra, who ought to begin soon with her studies. Wrote a letter—afterwards a postscript. Rather in low spirits—certainly hippish—liver touched—will take a dose of salts.

“I have been reading the Life, by himself and daughter, of Mr. R. L. Edgeworth, the father of the Miss Edgeworth. It is altogether a great name. In 1813, I recollect to have met them in the fashionable world of London (of which I then formed an item, a fraction, the segment of a circle, the unit of a million, the nothing of something) in the assemblies of the hour, and at a breakfast of Sir Humphry and Lady Davy’s, to which I was invited for the nonce. I had been the lion of 1812; Miss Edgeworth and Madame de Staël, with ‘the Cossack,’ towards the end of 1813, were the exhibitions of the succeeding year.

“I thought Edgeworth a fine old fellow, of a clarety, elderly, red complexion, but active, brisk, and endless. He was seventy, but did not look fifty—no, nor forty-eight even. I had seen poor Fitzpatrick not very long before—a man of pleasure, wit, eloquence, all things. He tottered—but still talked like a gentleman, though feebly. Edgeworth
412 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
bounced about, and talked loud and long; but he seemed neither weakly nor decrepit, and hardly old.

“He began by telling ‘that he had given Dr. Parr a dressing, who had taken him for an Irish bogtrotter,’ &c. &c. Now I, who know Dr. Parr, and who know (not by experience—for I never should have presumed so far as to contend with him—but by hearing him with others, and of others) that it is not so easy a matter to ‘dress him,’ thought Mr. Edgeworth an asserter of what was not true. He could not have stood before Parr an instant. For the rest, he seemed intelligent, vehement, vivacious, and full of life. He bids fair for a hundred years.

He was not much admired in London, and I remember a ‘ryghte merrie’ and conceited jest which was rife among the gallants of the day,—viz. a paper had been presented for the recall of Mrs. Siddons to the stage (she having lately taken leave, to the loss of ages,—for nothing ever was, or can be, like her), to which all men had been called to subscribe. Whereupon, Thomas Moore, of profane and poetical memory, did propose that a similar paper should be subscribed and circumscribed ‘for the recall of Mr. Edgeworth to Ireland*.’

“The fact was—every body cared more about her. She was a nice little unassuming ‘Jeanie Deans’-looking bodie,’ as we Scotch say—and, if not handsome, certainly not ill-looking. Her conversation was as quiet as herself. One would never have guessed she could write her name; whereas her father talked, not as if he could write nothing else, but as if nothing else was worth writing.

“As for Mrs. Edgeworth, I forget—except that I think she was the youngest of the party. Altogether, they were an excellent cage of the kind; and succeeded for two months, till the landing of Madame de Staël.

“To turn from them to their works, I admire them; but they excite no feeling, and they leave no love—except for some Irish steward or postilion. However, the impression of intellect and prudence is profound—and may be useful.

* In this, I rather think he was misinformed;—whatever merit there may be in the jest, I have not, as far as I can recollect, the slightest claim to it.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 413
“January 20th, 1821.

“Rode—fired pistols. Read from Grimm’s Correspondence. Dined—went out—heard music—returned—wrote a letter to the Lord Chamberlain to request him to prevent the theatres from representing the Doge, which the Italian papers say that they are going to act. This is pretty work—what! without asking my consent, and even m opposition to it!

“January 21st, 1821.

“Fine, clear frosty day—that is to say, an Italian frost, for their winters hardly get beyond snow; for which reason nobody knows how to skate (or skait)—a Dutch and English accomplishment. Rode out, as usual, and fired pistols. Good shooting—broke four common, and rather small, bottles, in four shots, at fourteen paces, with a common pair of pistols and indifferent powder. Almost as good wafering or shooting—considering the difference of powder and pistols—as when, in 1809, 1810, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814, it was my luck to split walking sticks, wafers, half-crowns, shillings, and even the eye of a walking-stick, at twelve paces, with a single bullet—and all by eye and calculation; for my hand is not steady, and apt to change with the very weather. To the prowess which I here note, Joe Manton and others can bear testimony;—for the former taught, and the latter has seen me do, these feats.

“Dined—visited—came home—read. Remarked on an anecdote in Grimm’s Correspondence, which says that ‘Regnard et la plûpart des poëtes comiques étaient gens bilieux et mélancoliques; et que M. de Voltaire, qui est très gai, n’a jamais fait que des tragedies—et que la comedie gaie est le seul genre où il n’ait point réussi. C’est que celui qui rit et celui qui fait rire sont deux hommes fort differens.’—vol. VI.

“At this moment I feel as bilious as the best comic writer of them all (even as Regnard himself, the next to Moliere, who has written some of the best comedies in any language, and who is supposed to have committed suicide), and am not in spirits to continue my proposed tragedy of Sardanapalus, which I have, for some days, ceased to compose.

414 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“To-morrow is my birthday—that is to say, at twelve o’ the clock, midnight, i. e. in twelve minutes, I shall have completed thirty and three years of age!!!—and I go to my bed with a heaviness of heart at having lived so long, and to so little purpose.

“It is three minutes past twelve.—‘’Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,’ and I am now thirty-three!
‘Eheu, fugaces, Posthume, Posthume,
Labuntur anni;—’
but I don’t regret them so much for what I have done, as for what I might have done.

“Through life’s road, so dim and dirty,
I have dragg’d to three-and-thirty.
What have these years left to me?
Nothing—except thirty-three.
“January 22d, 1821.
Here lies
interred in the Eternity
of the Past,
from whence there is no
for the Days—whatever there may be
for the Dust—
the Thirty-Third Year
of an ill-spent Life,
Which, after
a lingering disease of many months,
sunk into a lethargy,
and expired,
January 22d, 1821, a. d.
Leaving a successor
for the very loss which
occasioned its
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 415
“January 23rd, 1821.

“Fine day. Read—rode—fired pistols, and returned. Dined—read. Went out at eight—made the usual visit. Heard of nothing but war,—‘the cry is still, They come.’ The Cari. seem to have no plan—nothing fixed among themselves, how, when, or what to do. In that case, they will make nothing of this project, so often postponed, and never put in action.

“Came home, and gave some necessary orders, in case of circumstances requiring a change of place. I shall act according to what may seem proper, when I hear decidedly what the Barbarians mean to do. At present, they are building a bridge of boats over the Po, which looks very warlike. A few days will probably show. I think of retiring towards Ancona, nearer the northern frontier; that is to say, if Teresa and her father are obliged to retire, which is most likely, as all the family are Liberals. If not, I shall stay. But my movements will depend upon the lady’s wishes,—for myself; it is much the same.

“I am somewhat puzzled what to do with my little daughter, and my effects, which are of some quantity and value,—and neither of them do in the seat of war, where I think of going. But there is an elderly lady who will take charge of her, and T. says that the Marchese C. will undertake to hold the chattels in safe keeping. Half the city are getting their affairs in marching trim. A pretty Carnival! The blackguards might as well have waited till Lent.

“January 24th, 1821.

“Returned—met some masques in the Corso—‘Vive la bagatelle!’—the Germans are on the Po, the Barbarians at the gate, and their masters in council at Leybach (or whatever the eructation of the sound may syllable into a human pronunciation), and lo! they dance and sing, and make merry, ‘for to-morrow they may die.’ Who can say that the Arlequins are not right? Like the Lady Baussiere, and my old friend Burton—I ‘rode on.’

“Dined—(damn this pen!)—beef tough—there is no beef in Italy worth a curse; unless a man could eat an old ox with the hide on, singed in the sun.

416 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“The principal persons in the events which may occur in a few days are gone out on a shooting party. If it were like a ‘highland hunting,’ a pretext of the chase for a grand reunion of counsellors and chiefs, it would be all very well. But it is nothing more or less than a real snivelling, popping, small-shot, water-hen waste of powder, ammunition, and shot, for their own special amusement:—a rare set of fellows for ‘a man to risk his neck with,’ as ‘Marishal Wells’ says in the Black Dwarf.

If they gather,—‘whilk is to be doubted,’—they will not muster a thousand men. The reason of this is, that the populace are not interested,—only the higher and middle orders. I wish that the peasantry were: they are a fine savage race of two-legged leopards. But the Bolognese won’t—the Romagnuoles can’t without them. Or, if they try—what then? They will try, and man can do no more—and, if he would but try his utmost, much might be done. The Dutch, for instance, against the Spaniards—then, the tyrants of Europe—since, the slaves—and, lately, the freedmen.

“The year 1820 was not a fortunate one for the individual me, whatever it may be for the nations. I lost a lawsuit, after two decisions in my favour. The project of lending money on an Irish mortgage was finally rejected by my wife’s trustee after a year’s hope and trouble. The Rochdale lawsuit had endured fifteen years, and always prospered till I married; since which, every thing has gone wrong—with me, at least.

“In the same year, 1820, the Countess T. G. nata Ga. Gi., in despite of all I said and did to prevent it, would separate from her husband, Il Cavalier Commendatore Gi., &c. &c. &c., and all on the account of ‘P. P. clerk of this parish.’ The other little petty vexations of the year—overturns in carriages—the murder of people before one’s door, and dying in one’s beds—the cramp in swimming—colics—indigestions and bilious attacks, &c. &c. &c..

‘Many small articles make up a sum,
And hey ho for Caleb Quotem, oh!’
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 417
“January 25th, 1821.

“Received a letter from Lord S. O. state secretary of the Seven Islands—a fine fellow—clever—dished in England five years ago, and came abroad to retrench and to renew. He wrote from Ancona, in his way back to Corfu, on some matters of our own. He is son of the late Duke of L. by a second marriage. He wants me to go to Corfu. Why not?—perhaps I may, next spring.

“Answered Murray’s letter—read—lounged. Scrawled this additional page of life’s log-book. One day more is over of it, and of me;—but ‘which is best, life or death, the gods only know,’ as Socrates said to his judges, on the breaking up of the tribunal. Two thousand years since that sage’s declaration of ignorance have not enlightened us more upon this important point; for, according to the Christian dispensation, no one can know whether he is sure of salvation—even the most righteous since a single slip of faith may throw him on his back, like a skaiter, while gliding smoothly to his paradise. Now, therefore, whatever the certainty of faith in the facts may be, the certainty of the individual as to his happiness or misery is no greater than it was under Jupiter.

“It has been said that the immortality of the soul is a ‘grand peut-être’—but still it is a grand one. Every body clings to it—the stupidest, and dullest, and wickedest of human bipeds is still persuaded that he is immortal.

“January 26th, 1821,

“Fine day—a few mares’ tails portending change, but the sky clear, upon the whole. Rode—fired pistols—good shooting. Coming back, met an old man. Charity—purchased a shilling’s worth of salvation. If that was to be bought, I have given more to my fellow-creatures in this life—sometimes for vice, but, if not more often, at least more considerably, for virtue—than I now possess. I never in my life gave a mistress so much as I have sometimes given a poor man in honest distress;—but, no matter. The scoundrels who have all along persecuted me (with the help of * * who has crowned their efforts) will triumph;—and, when
418 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
justice is done to me, it will be when this hand that writes is as cold as the hearts which have stung me.

“Returning, on the bridge near the mill, met an old woman. I asked her age—she said, ‘Tre croci.’ I asked my groom (though myself a decent Italian) what the devil her three crosses meant. He said, ninety years, and that she had five years more to boot!! I repeated the same three times, not to mistake—ninety-five years!!!—and she was yet rather active—heard my question, for she answered it—saw me, for she advanced towards me; and did not appear at all decrepit, though certainly touched with years. Told her to come to-morrow, and will examine her myself. I love phenomena. If she is ninety-five years old, she must recollect the Cardinal Alberoni, who was legate here.

“On dismounting, found Lieutenant E. just arrived from Faenza. Invited him to dine with me tomorrow. Did not invite him for to-day, because there was a small turbot (Friday, fast regularly and religiously) which I wanted to eat all myself. Ate it.

“Went out—found T. as usual—music. The gentlemen, who make revolutions and are gone on a shooting, are not yet returned. They don’t return till Sunday—that is to say, they have been out for five days, buffooning, while the interests of a whole country are at stake, and even they themselves compromised.

“It is a difficult part to play amongst such a set of assassins and blockheads—but, when the scum is skimmed off, or has boiled over, good may come of it. If this country could but be freed, what would be too great for the accomplishment of that desire? for the extinction of that Sigh of Ages? Let us hope. They have hoped these thousand years. The very revolvement of the chances may bring it—it is upon the dice.

“If the Neapolitans have but a single Massaniello amongst them, they will beat the bloody butchers of the crown and sabre. Holland, in worse circumstances, beat the Spains and Philips; America beat the English; Greece beat Xerxes; and France beat Europe, till she took a tyrant; South America beats her old vultures out of their nest; and, if these men are but firm in themselves, there is nothing to shake them from without.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 419
“January 28th, 1821.

Lugano Gazette did not come. Letters from Venice. It appears that the Austrian brutes have seized my—three or four pounds of English powder. The scoundrels!—I hope to pay them in ball for that powder. Rode out till twilight.

“Pondered the subjects of four tragedies to be written (life and circumstances permitting), to wit, Sardanapalus, already begun; Cain, a metaphysical subject, something in the style of Manfred, but in five acts, perhaps, with the chorus; Francesca of Rimini, in five acts; and I am not sure that I would not try Tiberius. I think that I could extract a something, of my tragic, at least, out of the gloomy sequestration and old age of the tyrant—and even out of his sojourn at Caprea—by softening the details, and exhibiting the despair which must have led to those very vicious pleasures. For none but a powerful and gloomy mind overthrown would have had recourse to such solitary horrors,—being also, at the same time, old, and the master of the world.


“What is Poetry?—The feeling of a Former world and Future.

Thought Second.

“Why, at the very height of desire and human pleasure,—worldly, social, amorous, ambitious, or even avaricious,—does there mingle a certain sense of doubt and sorrow—a fear of what is to come—a doubt of what is—a retrospect to the past, leading to a prognostication of the future. (The best of Prophets of the future is the Past.) Why is this? or these?—I know not, except that on a pinnacle we are most susceptible of giddiness, and that we never fear falling except from a precipice—the higher, the more awful, and the more sublime; and, therefore, I am not sure that Fear is not a pleasurable sensation; at least, Hope is; and what Hope is there without a deep leaven of Fear? and what sensation is so delightful as Hope? and, if it were not for Hope, where would the Future be?—in hell. It is useless to say where the Present is, for most of us know; and as for the Past, what predominates in memory?—Hope baffled. Ergo, in all human affairs, it is Hope—Hope—Hope. I allow sixteen minutes, though I never counted them, to any given or supposed
420 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
possession. From whatever place we commence, we know where it all must end. And yet, what good is there in knowing it? It does not make men better or wiser. During the greatest horrors of the greatest plagues (Athens and Florence, for example—see
Thucydides and Machiavelli), men were more cruel and profligate than ever. It is all a mystery. I feel most things, but I know nothing, except — *

Thought for a speech of Lucifer, in the tragedy of Cain:
“Were Death an evil, would I let thee live?
Fool! live as I live—as thy father lives,
And thy son’s sons shall live for evermore.
“Past midnight. One o’ the clock.

“I have been reading W. F. S * * (brother to the other of the name) till now, and I can make out nothing. He evidently shows a great power of words, but there is nothing to be taken hold of. He is like Hazlitt, in English, who talks pimples—a red and white corruption rising up (in little imitation of mountains upon maps), but containing nothing, and discharging nothing, except their own humours.

“I dislike him the worse (that is, S * *), because he always seems upon the verge of meaning; and, lo, he goes down like sunset, or melts like a rainbow, leaving a rather rich confusion,—to which, however, the above comparisons do too much honour.

“Continuing to read Mr. F. S * *. He is not such a fool as I took him for, that is to say, when he speaks of the North. But still he speaks of things all over the world with a kind of authority that a philosopher would disdain, and a man of common sense, feeling, and

* Thus marked, with impatient strokes of the pen, by himself in the original.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 421
knowledge of his own ignorance, would be ashamed of. The man is evidently wanting to make an impression, like his brother,—or like George in the
Vicar of Wakefield, who found out that all the good things had been said already on the right side, and therefore ‘dressed up some paradoxes’ upon the wrong side—ingenious, but false, as he himself says—to which ‘the learned world said nothing, nothing at all, sir.’ The ‘learned world,’ however, has said something to the brothers S * *.

“It is high time to think of something else. What they say of the antiquities of the North is best.

“January 29th, 1821.

“Yesterday the woman of ninety-five years of age was with me. She said her eldest son (if now alive) would have been seventy. She is thin—short, but active—hears, and sees. and talks incessantly. Several teeth left—all in the lower jaw, and single front teeth. She is very deeply wrinkled, and has a sort of scattered gray beard over her chin, at least as long as my mustachios. Her head, in fact, resembles the drawing in crayons of Pope the poet’s mother, which is in some editions of his works.

“I forgot to ask her if she remembered Alberoni (legate here), but will ask her next time. Gave her a louis—ordered her a new suit of clothes, and put her upon a weekly pension. Till now, she had worked at gathering wood and pine-nuts in the forest,—pretty work at ninety-five years old! She had a dozen children, of whom some are alive. Her name is Maria Montanari.

“Met a company of the sect (a kind of Liberal Club) called the ‘Americani’ in the forest, all armed, and singing, with all their might, in Romagnuole—‘Sem tutti soldat’ per la liberta’ (‘we are all soldiers for liberty’). They cheered me as I passed—I returned their salute, and rode on. This may show the spirit of Italy at present.

“My to-day’s journal consists of what I omitted yesterday. To-day was much as usual. Have rather a better opinion of the writings of the Schlegels than I had four-and-twenty hours ago; and will amend it still further, if possible.

“They say that the Piedmontese have at length risen—ça ira!

422 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“Read S * *. Of Dante he says that ‘at no time has the greatest and most national of all Italian poets ever been much the favourite of his countrymen.’ ’Tis false! There have been more editors and commentators (and imitators, ultimately) of Dante than of all their poets put together. Not a favourite! Why, they talk Dante—write Dante—and think and dream Dante at this moment (1821) to an excess, which would be ridiculous, but that he deserves it.

“In the same style this German talks of gondolas on the Arno—a precious fellow to dare to speak of Italy!

“He says also that Dante’s chief defect is a want, in a word, of gentle feelings. Of gentle feelings!—and Francesca of Rimini—and the father’s feelings in Ugolino—and Beatrice—and ‘La Pia!’ Why, there is a gentleness in Dante beyond all gentleness, when he is tender. It is true that, treating of the Christian Hades, or Hell, there is not much scope or site for gentleness—but who but Dante could have introduced any ‘gentleness’ at all into Hell? Is there any in Milton’s? No—and Dante’s Heaven is all love, and glory, and majesty.

“1 o’clock.

“I have found out, however, where the German is right—it is about the Vicar of Wakefield. ‘Of all romances in miniature (and, perhaps, this is the best shape in which romance can appear), the Vicar of Wakefield is, I think, the most exquisite.’ He thinks!—he might be sure. But it is very well for a S * *. I feel sleepy, and may as well get me to bed. Tomorrow there will be fine weather.

‘Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay.’
“January 30th, 1821.

“The Count P. G. this evening (by commission from the Ci.) transmitted to me the new words for the next six months. * * * and * * *. The new sacred word is * * *—the reply * * *—the rejoinder * * *. The former word (now changed) was * * *—there is also * * *—* * *†. Things seem fast coming to a crisis—ca ira!

† In the original MS. these watch-words are blotted over so as to be illegible.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 423

“We talked over various matters of moment and movement. These I omit;—if they come to any thing, they will speak for themselves. After these, we spoke of Kosciusko. Count R. G. told me that he has seen the Polish officers in the Italian war burst into tears on hearing his name.

“Something must be up in Piedmont—all the letters and papers are stopped. Nobody knows any thing, and the Germans are concentrating near Mantua. Of the decision of Leybach, nothing is known. This state of things cannot last long. The ferment in men’s minds at present cannot be conceived without seeing it.

“January 31st, 1821.

“For several days I have not written any thing except a few answers to letters. In momentary expectation of an explosion of some kind, it is not easy to settle down to the desk for the higher kinds of composition. I could do it, to be sure, for, last summer, I wrote my drama in the very bustle of Madame la Contesse G.’s divorce, and all its process of accompaniments. At the same time, I also had the news of the loss of an important lawsuit in England. But these were only private and personal business; the present is of a different nature.

“I suppose it is this, but have some suspicion that it may be laziness, which prevents me from writing; especially as Rochefoucault says that ‘laziness often masters them all’—speaking of the passions. If this were true, it could hardly be said that ‘idleness is the root of all evil,’ since this is supposed to spring from the passions only: ergo, that which masters all the passions (laziness, to wit) would in so much be a good. Who knows?


“I have been reading Grimm’s Correspondence. He repeats frequently, in speaking of a poet, or of a man of genius in any department, even in music (Gretry, for instance), that he must have ‘une ame qui se tourmente, un esprit violent.’ How far this may be true, I know not; but if it were, I should be a poet ‘per eccellenza;’ for I have always had ‘une ame,’ which not only tormented itself but every body else in contact with it; and an ‘esprit violent,’ which has almost left me
424 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
without any ‘esprit’ at all. As to defining what a poet should be, it is not worth while, for what are they worth? what have they done?

Grimm, however, is an excellent critic and literary historian. His Correspondence form the annals of the literary part of that age of France, with much of her polities, and, still more, of her ‘way of life.’ He is as valuable, and far more entertaining than Muratori or Tiraboschi—I had almost said, than Guingené—but there we should pause. However, ’tis a great man in its line.

Monsieur St. Lambert has
‘Et lorsqu’à ses regards la lumière est ravie,
Il n’a plus, en mourant, à perdre que la vie.’
This is, word for word,
‘And dying, all we can resign is breath,’
without the smallest acknowledgment from the Lorrainer of a poet. M. St. Lambert is dead as a man, and (for any thing I know to the contrary) damned, as a poet, by this time. However, his Seasons have good things, and, it may be, some of his own.

“February 2d, 1821.

“I have been considering what can be the reason why I always wake, at a certain hour in the morning, and always in very bad spirits—I may say, in actual despair and despondency, in all respects—even of that which pleased me over night. In about an hour or two, this goes off, and I compose either to sleep again, or, at least, to quiet. In England, five years ago, I had the same kind of hypochondria, but accompanied with so violent a thirst that I have drank as many as fifteen bottles of soda-water in one night, after going to bed, and been still thirsty—calculating, however, some lost from the bursting out and effervescence and overflowing of the soda-water, in drawing the corks, or striking off the necks of the bottles from mere thirsty impatience. At present, I have not the thirst; but the depression of spirits is no less violent.

“I read in Edgeworth’s Memoirs of something similar (except that his thirst expended itself on small beer) in the case of Sir F. B. Delaval;
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 425
—but then he was, at least, twenty years older. What is it?—liver? In England,
Le Man (the apothecary) cured me of the thirst in three days, and it had lasted as many years. I suppose that it is all hypochondria.

“What I feel most growing upon me are laziness, and a disrelish more powerful than indifference. If I rouse, it is into fury. I presume that I shall end (if not earlier by accident, or some such termination) like Swift—‘dying at top.’ I confess I do not contemplate this with so much horror as he apparently did for some years before it happened. But Swift had hardly begun life at the very period (thirty-three) when I feel quite an old sort of feel.

“Oh! there is an organ playing in the street—a waltz, too! I must leave off to listen. They are playing a waltz, which I have heard ten thousand times at the balls in London, between 1812 and 1815. Music is a strange thing*.

“February 5th, 1821.

“At last, ‘the kiln’s in a low.’ The Germans are ordered to march, and Italy is, for the ten thousandth time, to become a field of battle. Last night the news came.

“This afternoon, Count P. G. came to me to consult upon divers matters. We rode out together. They have sent off to the C. for orders. To-morrow the decision ought to arrive, and then something will be done. Returned—dined—read—went out—talked over matters. Made a purchase of some arms for the new inrolled Americani, who are all on tiptoe to march. Gave orders for some harness and portmanteaus necessary for the horses.

“Read some of Bowles’s dispute about Pope, with all the replies and rejoinders. Perceive that my name has been lugged into the controversy, but have not time to state what I know of the subject. On some ‘piping day of peace’ it is probable that I may resume it.

* In this little incident of the music in the streets thus touching so suddenly upon the nerve of memory, and calling away his mind from its dark bodings to a recollection of years and scenes the happiest, perhaps, of his whole life, there is something that appears to me peculiarly affecting.

426 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“February 9th, 1821.

“Before dinner wrote a little; also, before I rode out, Count P. G. called upon me, to let me know the result of the meeting of the Ci. at F. and at B. * * returned late last night. Every thing was combined under the idea that the Barbarians would pass the Po on the 15th inst. Instead of this, from some previous information or otherwise, they have hastened their march and actually passed two days ago; so that all that can be done at present in Romagna is, to stand on the alert and wait for the advance of the Neapolitans. Every thing was ready, and the Neapolitans had sent on their own instructions and intentions, all calculated for the tenth and eleventh, on which days a general rising was to take place, under the supposition that the Barbarians could not advance before the 15th.

“As it is, they have but fifty or sixty thousand troops, a number with which they might as well attempt to conquer the world as secure Italy in its present state. The artillery marches last, and alone, and there is an idea of an attempt to cut part of them off. All this will much depend upon the first steps of the Neapolitans. Here, the public spirit is excellent, provided it be kept up. This will be seen by the event.

“It is probable that Italy will be delivered from the Barbarians if the Neapolitans will but stand firm, and are united among themselves. Here they appear so.

“February 10th, 1821.

“Day passed as usual—nothing new. Barbarians still in march—not well equipped, and, of course, not well received on their route. There is some talk of a commotion at Paris.

“Rode out between four and six—finished my letter to Murray on Bowles’s pamphlets—added postscript. Passed the evening as usual—out till eleven—and subsequently at home.

“February 11th, 1821.

“Wrote—had a copy taken of an extract from Petrarch’s Letters, with reference to the conspiracy of the Doge, M. Faliero, containing the poet’s opinion of the matter. Heard a heavy firing of cannon towards
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 427
Comacchio—the Barbarians rejoicing for their
principal pig’s birthday, which is tomorrow—or Saint day—I forget which. Received a ticket for the first ball tomorrow. Shall not go to the first, but intend going to the second, as also to the Veglioni.

“February 13th, 1821.

“To-day read a little in Louis B.’s Hollande, but have written nothing since the completion of the letter on the Pope controversy. Politics are quite misty for the present. The Barbarians still upon their march. It is not easy to divine what the Italians will now do.

“Was elected yesterday ‘Socio’ of the Carnival ball society. This is the fifth carnival that I have passed. In the four former, I racketed a good deal. In the present, I have been as sober as Lady Grace herself.

“February 14th, 1821.

“Much as usual. Wrote, before riding out, part of a scene of ‘Sardanapalus.’ The first act nearly finished. The rest of the day and evening as before—partly without, in conversazione—partly at home.

“Heard the particulars of the late fray at Russi, a town not far from this. It is exactly the fact of Romēo and Giulietta—not Romĕo, as the Barbarian writes it. Two families of Contadini (peasants) are at feud. At a ball, the younger part of the families forget their quarrel, and dance together. An old man of one of them enters, and reproves the young men for dancing with the females of the opposite family. The male relatives of the latter resent this. Both parties rush home, and arm themselves. They meet directly, by moonlight, in the public way, and fight it out. Three are killed on the spot, and six wounded, most of them dangerously,—pretty well for two families, methinks—and all fact, of the last week. Another assassination has taken place at Cesenna,—in all about forty in Romagna within these last three months. These people retain much of the middle ages.

“February 15th, 1821.

“Last night finished the first act of Sardanapalus. To-night, or to-morrow, I ought to answer letters.

428 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“February 16th, 1821.

“Last night Il Conte P. G. sent a man with a bag full of bayonets, some muskets, and some hundreds of cartridges to my house, without apprizing me, though I had seen him not half an hour before. About ten days ago, when there was to be a rising here, the Liberals and my brethren Ci. asked me to purchase some arms for a certain few of our ragamuffins. I did so immediately, and ordered ammunition, &c. and they were armed accordingly. Well—the rising is prevented by the Barbarians marching a week sooner than appointed; and an order is issued, and in force, by the Government, ‘that all persons having arms concealed, &c, &c. shall be liable to,’ &c. &c.—and what do my friends, the patriots, do two days afterwards? Why, they throw back upon my hands, and into my house, these very arms (without a word of warning previously) with which I had furnished them at their own request, and at my own peril and expense.

“It was lucky that Lega was at home to receive them. If any of the servants had (except Tita and F. and Lega) they would have betrayed it immediately. In the mean time, if they are denounced, or discovered, I shall be in a scrape.

“At nine went out—at eleven returned. Beat the crow for stealing the falcon’s victuals. Read ‘Tales of my Landlord’—wrote a letter—and mixed a moderate beaker of water with other ingredients.

“February 18th, 1821.

“The news are that the Neapolitans have broken a bridge, and slain four pontifical carabiniers, whilk carabiniers wished to oppose. Besides the disrespect to neutrality, it is a pity that the first blood shed in this German quarrel should be Italian. However, the war seems begun in good earnest; for, if the Neapolitans kill the Pope’s carabiniers, they will not be more delicate towards the Barbarians. If it be even so, in a short time ‘there will be news o’ thae craws,’ as Mrs. Alison Wilson says of Jenny Blane’s ‘unco cockernony’ in the Tales of my Landlord.

“In turning over Grimm’s Correspondence to-day, I found a thought of Tom Moore’s in a song of Maupertuis to a female Laplander.
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 429
‘Et tous les lieux,
Où sont ses yeux,
Font la Zone brûlante.’
This is
‘And those eyes make my climate, wherever I roam.’
But I am sure that Moore never saw it; for this song was published in Grimm’s Correspondence in 1813, and I knew Moore’s by heart in 1812. There is also another, but an antithetical coincidence—
‘Le soleil luit,
Des jours sans nuit
Bientôt il nous destine;
Mais ces longs jours
Seront trop courts,
Passés près des Christine.’
This is the thought, reversed, of the last stanza of the
ballad on Charlotte Lynes, given in Miss Seward’s Memoirs of Darwin, which is pretty—I quote from memory of these last fifteen years.

‘For my first night I’ll go
To those regions of snow,
Where the sun for six months never shines;
And think, even then,
He too soon came again,
To disturb me with fair Charlotte Lynes.’

“To-day I have had no communication with my Carbonari cronies: but, in the mean time, my lower apartments are full of their bayonets, fusils, cartridges, and what not. I suppose that they consider me as a depôt, to be sacrificed, in case of accidents. It is no great matter, supposing that Italy could be liberated, who or what is sacrificed, it is a grand object—the very poetry of politics. Only think—a free Italy!!! Why, there has been nothing like it since the days of Augustus. I reckon the times of Cæsar (Julius) free; because the commotions left every body a side to take, and the parties were pretty equal at the set out. But, afterwards, it was all prætorian and legionary business—and since!—we shall see, or, at least, some will see, what card will turn up.
430 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
It is best to hope, even of the hopeless. The Dutch did more than these fellows have to do, in the Seventy Years’ War.

“February 19th, 1821.

“Came home solus—very high wind—lightning—moonshine—solitary stragglers muffled in cloaks—women in mask—white houses—clouds hurrying over the sky, like spilt milk blown out of the pail—altogether very poetical. It is still blowing hard—the tiles flying, and the house rocking—rain splashing—lightning flashing—quite a fine Swiss Alpine evening, and the sea roaring in the distance.

“Visited—conversazione. All the women frightened by the squall: they won’t go to the masquerade because it lightens—the pious reason!

“Still blowing away. A. has sent me some news to-day. The war approaches nearer and nearer. Oh those scoundrel sovereigns! Let us but see them beaten—let the Neapolitans but have the pluck of the Dutch of old, or the Spaniards of now, or of the German protestants, the Scotch presbyterians, the Swiss under Tell, or the Greeks under Themistoclesall small and solitary nations (except the Spaniards and German Lutherans), and there is yet a resurrection for Italy, and a hope for the world.

“February 20th, 1821.

“The news of the day are, that the Neapolitans are full of energy. The public spirit here is certainly well kept up. The ‘Americani’ (a patriotic society here, an under branch of the ‘Carbonari’) give a dinner in the Forest in a few days, and have invited me, as one of the Ci. It is to be in the Forest of Boccacio’s and Dryden’s ‘Huntsman’s Ghost;’ and, even if I had not the same political feelings (to say nothing of my old convivial turn, which every now and then revives), I would go as a poet, or, at least, as a lover of poetry. I shall expect to see the spectre of ‘Ostasio degli Onesti’ (Dryden has turned him into Guido Cavalcanti—an essentially different person, as may be found in Dante) come ‘thundering for his prey’ in the midst of the festival. At any rate, whether he does or no, I will get as tipsy and patriotic as possible.

“Within these few days I have read, but not written.

* In Boccacio, the name is, I think, Nastagio.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 431
“February 21st, 1821.

“As usual, rode—visited, &c. Business begins to thicken. The Pope has printed a declaration against the patriots, who, he says, meditate a rising. The consequence of all this will be, that, in a fortnight, the whole country will be up. The proclamation is not yet published, but printed, ready for distribution. * * sent me a copy privately—a sign that he does not know what to think. When he wants to be well with the patriots, he sends to me some civil message or other.

“For my own part, it seems to me, that nothing but the most decided success of the Barbarians can prevent a general and immediate rise of the whole nation.

“February 23d, 1821.

“Almost ditto with yesterday—rode, &c.—visited—wrote nothing —read Roman History.

“Had a curious letter from a fellow, who informs me that the Barbarians are ill-disposed towards me. He is probably a spy, or an impostor. But be it so, even as he says. They cannot bestow their hostility on one who loathes and execrates them more than I do, or who will oppose their views with more zeal, when the opportunity offers.

“February 24th, 1821.

“Rode, &c. as usual. The secret intelligence arrived this morning from the frontier to the Ci. is as bad as possible. The plan has missed—the Chiefs are betrayed, military as well as civil—and the Neapolitans not only have not moved, but have declared to the P. government, and to the Barbarians, that they know nothing of the matter!!!

“Thus the world goes; and thus the Italians are always lost for lack of union among themselves. What is to be done here, between the two fires, and cut off from the Nn. frontier, is not decided. My opinion was,—better to rise than be taken in detail; but how it will be settled now, I cannot tell. Messengers are despatched to the delegates of the other cities to learn their resolutions.

“I always had an idea that it would be bungled; but was willing to
432 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
hope, and am so still. Whatever I can do by money, means, or person, I will venture freely for their freedom; and have so repeated to them (some of the Chiefs here) half an hour ago. I have two thousand five hundred scudi, better than five hundred pounds, in the house, which I offered to begin with.

“February 25th, 1821.

“Came home—my head aches—plenty of news, but too tiresome to set down. I have neither read, nor written, nor thought, but led a purely animal life all day. I mean to try to write a page or two before I go to bed. But, as Squire Sullen says, ‘My head aches consumedly: Scrub, bring me a dram!’ Drank some Imola wine, and some punch.

Log-book continued*.
“February 27th, 1821.

“I have been a day without continuing the log, because I could not find a blank book. At length I recollected this.

“Rode, &c.—dined—wrote down an additional stanza for the 5th canto of D. J., which I had composed in bed this morning. Visited l’Amica. We are invited, on the night of the Veglione (next Domenica), with the Marchesa Clelia Cavalli and the Countess Spineffi Rasponi. I promised to go. Last night there was a row at the ball, of which I am a ‘socio.’ The Vice-legate had the imprudent insolence to introduce three of his servants in masque—without tickets, too! and in spite of remonstrances. The consequence was, that the young men of the ball took it up, and were near throwing the Vice-legate out of the window. His servants, seeing the scene, withdrew, and he after them. His reverence Monsignore ought to know, that these are not times for the predominance of priests over decorum. Two minutes more, two steps farther, and the whole city would have been in arms, and the government driven out of it.

“Such is the spirit of the day, and these fellows appear not to per-

* In another paper-book.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 433
ceive it. As far as the simple fact went, the young men were right, servants being prohibited always at these festivals.

“Yesterday wrote two notes on the ‘Bowles and Pope’ controversy, and sent them off to Murray by the post. The old woman whom I relieved in the forest (she is ninety-four years of age) brought me two bunches of violets. ‘Nam vita gaudet mortua floribus.’ I was much pleased with the present. An Englishwoman would have presented a pair of worsted stockings, at least, in the month of February. Both excellent things; but the former are more elegant. The present, at this season, reminds one of Gray’s stanza, omitted from his elegy:
‘Here scatter’d oft, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
The red-breast loves to build and warble here,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.’
As fine a stanza as any in his elegy. I wonder that he could have the heart to omit it.

“Last night I suffered horribly—from an indigestion, I believe. I never sup—that is, never at home. But, last night, I was prevailed upon by the Countess Gamba’s persuasion, and the strenuous example of her brother, to swallow, at supper, a quantity of boiled cockles, and to dilute them, not reluctantly, with some Imola wine. When I came home, apprehensive of the consequences, I swallowed three or four glasses of spirits, which men (the venders) call brandy, rum, or Hollands, but which Gods would entitle spirits of wine, coloured or sugared. All was pretty well till I got to bed, when I became somewhat swollen, and considerably vertiginous. I got out, and, mixing some soda-powders, drank them off. This brought on temporary relief. I returned to bed; but grew sick and sorry once and again. Took more soda-water. At last I fell into a dreary sleep. Woke, and was ill all day, till I had galloped a few miles. Query—was it the cockles, or what I took to correct them, that caused the commotion? I think both. I remarked in my illness the complete inertion, inaction, and destruction of my chief mental faculties. I tried to rouse them, and yet could not—and this is the Soul!!! I should believe that it was married to the body, if they did not sympathize so much with each other. If the one rose, when the
434 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
other fell, it would be a sign that they longed for the natural state of divorce. But, as it is, they seem to draw together like post-horses.

“Let us hope the best—it is the grand possession.”

During the two months comprised in this Journal, some of the Letters of the following series were written. The reader must, therefore, be prepared to find in them occasional notices of the same train of events.

“Ravenna, January 2d, 1821.

“Your entering into my project for the Memoir is pleasant to me. But I doubt (contrary to my dear Made Mac F * *, whom I always loved, and always shall—not only because I really did feel attached to her personally, but because she and about a dozen others of that sex were all who stuck by me in the grand conflict of 1815)—but I doubt, I say, whether the Memoir could appear in my lifetime;—and, indeed, I had rather it did not; for a man always looks dead after his Life has appeared, and I should certes not survive the appearance of mine. The first part I cannot consent to alter, even although Made. de S.’s opinion of B. C., and my remarks upon Lady C.’s beauty (which is surely great, and I suppose that I have said so—at least, I ought) should go down to our grandchildren in unsophisticated nakedness.

“As to Madame de S * *, I am by no means bound to be her beadsman—she was always more civil to me in person than during my absence. Our dear defunct friend, M * * L * *† who was too great

† Of this gentleman, the following notice occurs in the “Detached Thoughts.”—“L * * was a good man, a clever man, but a bore. My only revenge or consolation used to be setting him by the ears with some vivacious person who hated bores especially,—Madame S— or H—, for example. But I liked L * *; he was a jewel of a man, had he been better set;—I don’t mean personally, but lees tiresome, for he was tedious, as well as contradictory to every thing and every body. Being shortsighted, when we used to ride out together near the Brenta in the twilight in summer, he made me go before, to pilot him: I am absent at times, especially towards evening; and the consequence of this

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 435
a bore ever to lie, assured me, upon his tiresome word of honour, that, at Florence, the said Madame de S * * was open-mouthed against me; and, when asked, in Switzerland, why she had changed her opinion, replied, with laudable sincerity, that I had named her in a sonnet with
Voltaire, Rousseau, &c. &c. and that she could not help it, through decency. Now, I have not forgotten this, but I have been generous,—as mine acquaintance, the late Captain Whitby, of the navy, used to say to his seamen (when ‘married to the gunner’s daughter’)—‘two dozen, and let you off easy.’ The ‘two dozen’ were with the cat-o’-nine-tails;—the ‘let you off easy’ was rather his own opinion than that of the patient.

“My acquaintance with these terms and practices arises from my having been much conversant with ships of war and naval heroes in the years of my voyages in the Mediterranean. Whitby was in the gallant action off Lissa in 1811. He was brave, but a disciplinarian. When he left his frigate, he left a parrot, which was taught by the crew the following sounds—(It must be remarked that Captain Whitby was the image of Fawcett the actor, in voice, face, and figure, and that he squinted).

The Parrot loquitur.

“‘Whitby! Whitby! funny eye! funny eye! two dozen, and let you off easy. Oh you ——!’

“Now, if Madame de B. has a parrot, it had better be taught a French parody of the same sounds.

pilotage was some narrow escapes to the M * * on horseback. Once I led him into a ditch over which I had passed as usual, forgetting to warn my convoy; once I led him nearly into the river, instead of on the moveable bridge which incommodes passengers; and twice did we both run against the Diligence, which, being heavy and slow, did communicate less damage than it received in its leaders, who were terrafied by the charge; thrice did I lose him in the gray of the gloaming, and was obliged to bring-to to his distant signals of distance and distress; —all the time he went on talking without intermission, for he was a man of many words. Poor fellow! he died a martyr to his new riches—of a second visit to Jamaica.
“I’d give the lands of Deloraine
Dark Musgrave were alive again!
that is—
“I would give many a sugar cane
M * * L * * were alive again!

436 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“With regard to our purposed Journal, I will call it what you please, but it should be a newspaper, to make it pay. We can call it ‘The Harp,’ if you like—or any thing.

“I feel exactly as you do about our ‘art†,’ but it comes over me in a kind of rage every now and then, like * * * * and then, if I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing, which you describe in your friend, I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a pleasure. On the contrary, I think composition a great pain.

“I wish you to think seriously of the Journal scheme—for I am as serious as one can be, in this world, about any thing. As to matters here, they are high and mighty—but not for paper. It is much about the state of things betwixt Cain and Abel. There is, in fact, no law or government at all; and it is wonderful how well things go on without them. Excepting a few occasional murders (every body killing whomsoever he pleases, and being killed, in turn, by a friend, or relative, of the defunct), there is as quiet a society and as merry a Carnival as can be met with in a tour through Europe. There is nothing like habit in these things.

“I shall remain here till May or June, and, unless ‘honour comes unlooked for,’ we may perhaps meet, in France or England, within the year.

“Yours, &c.

“Of course, I cannot explain to you existing circumstances, as they open all letters.

† The following passage from the letter of mine, to which the above was an answer, will best explain what follows:—“With respect to the newspaper, it is odd enough that Lord * * * and myself had been (about a week or two before I received your letter) speculating upon your assistance in a plan somewhat similar, but more literary and less regularly periodical in its appearance. Lord * *, as you will see by his volume of Essays, if it reaches you, has a very sly, dry, and pithy way of putting sound truths, upon politics and manners, and whatever scheme we adopt, he will be a very useful and active ally in it, as he has a pleasure in writing quite inconceivable to a poor hack scribe like me, who always feel, about my art, as the French husband did when he found a man making love to his (the Frenchman’s) wife:—‘Comment, Monsieur,—sans y être obligé!’ When I say this, however, I mean it only of the executive part of writing; for the imagining, the shadowing out of the future work is, I own, a delicious fool’s-paradise.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 437

“Will you set me right about your curst ‘Champs Elysées?’—are they ‘és’ or ‘ées’ for the adjective? I know nothing of French, being all Italian. Though I can read and understand French, I never attempt to speak it; for I hate it. From the second part of the Memoirs cut what you please.”

“Ravenna, January 4th, 1821.

“I just see, by the papers of Galignani, that there is a new tragedy of great expectation, by Barry Cornwall. Of what I have read of his works, I liked the Dramatic Sketches, but thought his Sicilian story and Marcian Colonna, in rhyme, quite spoilt, by I know not what affectation of Wordsworth, and Moore, and myself,—all mixed up into a kind of chaos. I think him very likely to produce a good tragedy, if he keep to a natural style, and not play tricks to form harlequinades for an audience. As he (Barry Cornwall is not his true name) was a schoolfellow of mine, I take more than common interest in his success, and shall be glad to hear of it speedily. If I had been aware that he was in that line, I should have spoken of him in the preface to Marino Faliero. He will do a world’s wonder if he produce a great tragedy. I am, however, persuaded, that this is not to be done by following the old dramatists,—who are full of gross faults, pardoned only for the beauty of their language,—but by writing naturally and regularly, and producing regular tragedies, like the Greeks; but not in imitation,—merely the outline of their conduct, adapted to our own times and circumstances, and of course no chorus.

“You will laugh, and say, ‘Why don’t you do so?’ I have, you see, tried a sketch in Marino Faliero; but many people think my talent ‘essentially undramatic,’ and I am not at all clear that they are not right. If Marino Faliero don’t fall—in the perusal—I shall, perhaps, try again (but not for the stage); and as I think that love is not the principal passion for tragedy (and yet most of ours turn upon it), you will not
438 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
find me a popular writer. Unless it is love, furious, criminal, and hapless, it ought not to make a tragic subject. When it is melting and maudlin, it does, but it ought not to do; it is then for the gallery and second-price boxes.

“If you want to have a notion of what I am trying, take up a translation of any of the Greek tragedians. If I said the original, it would be an impudent presumption of mine; but the translations are so inferior to the originals that I think I may risk it. Then judge of the ‘simplicity of plot,’ &c. and do not judge me by your old mad dramatists, which is like drinking usquebaugh and then proving a fountain. Yet after all, I suppose that you do not mean that spirits is a nobler element than a clear spring bubbling in the sun? and this I take to be the difference between the Greeks and those turbid mountebanks—always excepting Ben Jonson, who was a scholar and a classic. Or, take up a translation of Alfieri, and try the interest, &c. of these my new attempts in the old line, by him in English; and then tell me fairly your opinion But don’t measure me by your own old or new tailors’ yards. Nothing so easy as intricate confusion of plot and rant. Mrs. Centlivre, in comedy, has ten times the bustle of Congreve; but are they to be compared? and yet she drove Congreve from the theatre.”

“Ravenna, January 19th, 1821.

“Yours of the 29th ultimo hath arrived. I must really and seriously request that you will beg of Messrs. Harris or Elliston to let the Doge alone: it is not an acting play; it will not serve their purpose; it will destroy yours (the sale); and it will distress me. It is not courteous, it is hardly even gentlemanly, to persist in this appropriation of a man’s writings to their mountebanks.

“I have already sent you by last post a short protest* to the public

* To the letter which inclosed this protest, and which has been omitted to avoid repetitions, he had subjoined a passage from Spence’s Anecdotes (p. 197 of Singer’s edition) where Pope

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 439
(against this proceeding); in case that they persist, which I trust that they will not, you must then publish it in the newspapers. I shall not let them off with that only, if they go on; but make a longer appeal on that subject, and state what I think the injustice of their mode of behaviour. It is hard that I should have all the buffoons in Britain to deal with—pirates who will publish, and players who will act—when there are thousands of worthy men who can neither get bookseller nor manager for love nor money.

“You never answered me a word about Galignani. If you mean to use the two documents, do; if not, burn them. I do not choose to leave them in any one’s possession: suppose some one found them without the letters, what would they think? why, that I had been doing the opposite of what I have done, to wit, referred the whole thing to you—an act of civility at least, which required saying, ‘I have received your letter.’ I thought that you might have some hold upon those publications by this means; to me it can be no interest one way or the other.*

“The third canto of Don Juan is ‘dull,’ but you must really put up with it: if the two first and the two following are tolerable, what do you expect? particularly as I neither dispute with you on it as a matter of criticism, or as a matter of business.

“Besides, what am I to understand? you, and Douglas Kinnaird, and others, write to me, that the two first published cantos are among the best that I ever wrote, and are reckoned so; Augusta writes that they are thought ‘execrable’ (bitter word that for an author—eh, Murray?) as a composition even, and that she had heard so much against them that she would never read them, and never has. Be that as it may, I can’t alter; that is not my forte. If you publish the three new ones without ostentation, they may perhaps succeed.

says, speaking of himself, “I had taken such strong resolutions against any thing of that kind, from seeing how much every body that did write for the stage was obliged to subject themselves to the players and the town.”—Spence’s Anecdotes, p. 22.

In the same paragraph, Pope is made to say, “After I had got acquainted with the town, I resolved never to write any thing for the stage, though solicited by many of my friends to do so, and particularly Betterton.”

* No further step was ever taken in this affair; and the documents, which were of no use whatever, are, I believe, still in Mr. Murray’s possession.

440 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“Pray publish the Dante and the Pulci (the Prophecy of Dante, I mean). I look upon the Pulci as my grand performance†. The remainder of the ‘Hints,’ where be they? Now, bring them all out about the same time, otherwise ‘the variety’ you wot of will be less obvious.

“I am in bad humour:—some obstructions in business with those plaguy trustees, who object to an advantageous loan which I was to furnish to a nobleman on mortgage, because his property is in Ireland, have shown me how a man is treated in his absence. Oh, if I do come back, I will make some of those who little dream of it spin,—or they or I shall go down.” * * * * * * *

“January 20th, 1821.

“I did not think to have troubled you with the plague and postage of a double letter this time, but I have just read in an Italian paper, ‘That Lord Byron has a tragedy coming out,’ &c. &c. &c. and that the Courier and Morning Chronicle, &c. &c. are pulling one another to pieces about it and him, &c.

“Now I do reiterate and desire, that every thing may be done to prevent it from coming out on any theatre, for which it never was designed, and on which (in the present state of the stage of London) it could never succeed. I have sent you my appeal by last post, which you must publish in case of need; and I require you even in your own name (if my honour is dear to you) to declare that such representation would be contrary to my wish and to my judgment. If you do not wish to drive me mad altogether, you will hit upon some way to prevent this.

“Yours, &c.

† The self-will of Lord Byron was in no point more conspicuous than in the determination with which he thus persisted in giving the preference to one or two works of his own which, in the eyes of all other persons, were most decided failures. Of this class was the translation from Pulci, so frequently mentioned by him, which appeared afterwards in the Liberal, and which, though thus rescued from the fate of remaining unpublished, must for ever, I fear, submit to the doom of being unread.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 441

“P.S. I cannot conceive how Harris or Elliston should be so insane as to think of acting Marino Faliero; they might as well act the Prometheus of Æschylus. I speak of course humbly, and with the greatest sense of the distance of time and merit between the two performances; but merely to show the absurdity of the attempt.

“The Italian paper speaks of a ‘party against it:’ to be sure there would be a party. Can you imagine, that after having never flattered man, nor beast, nor opinion, nor politics, there would not be a party against a man, who is also a popular writer—at least a successful? Why, all parties would be a party against.”

“Ravenna, January 20th, 1821.

“If Harris or Elliston persist, after the remonstrance which I desired you and Mr. Kinnaird to make on my behalf, and which I hope will be sufficient—but if, I say, they do persist, then I pray you to present in person the enclosed letter to the Lord Chamberlain: I have said in person, because otherwise I shall have neither answer nor knowledge that it has reached its address, owing to ‘the insolence of office.’

“I wish you would speak to Lord Holland, and to all my friends and yours, to interest themselves in preventing this cursed attempt at representation.

“God help me! at this distance, I am treated like a corpse or a fool by the few people that I thought I could rely upon; and I was a fool to think any better of them than of the rest of mankind.

“Pray write.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. I have nothing more at heart (that is in literature) than to prevent this drama from going upon the stage: in short, rather than permit it, it must be suppressed altogether, and only forty copies struck off privately for presents to my friends. What curst fools those speculating buffoons must be not to see that it is unfit for their fair—or their booth!”

442 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“Ravenna, January 22d, 1821.

“Pray get well. I do not like your complaint. So, let me have a line to say you are up and doing again. To-day I am 33 years of age.
‘Through life’s road, &c. &c.*’

“Have you heard that the ‘Braziers’ Company’ have, or mean to present an address at Brandenburgh-house, ‘in armour,’ and with all possible variety, and splendour of brazen apparel?
“The Braziers, it seems, are preparing to pass
An address, and present it themselves all in brass—
A superfluous pageant—for, by the Lord Harry
They’ll find where they’re going much more than they carry.
There’s an
Ode for you, is it not?—worthy
“ Of * * * *, the grand metaquizzical poet,
A man of vast merit, though few people know it;
The perusal of whom (as I told you at Mestri)
I owe, in great part, to my passion for pastry.

“Mestri and Fusina are the ‘trajects, or common ferries,’ to Venice; but it was from Fusina that you and I embarked, though ‘the wicked necessity of rhyming’ has made me press Mestri into the voyage.

“So, you have had a book dedicated to you? I am glad of it, and shall be very happy to see the volume.

“I am in a peck of troubles about a tragedy of mine, which is fit only for the (* * * * * *) closet, and which it seems that the managers, assuming a right over published poetry, are determined to enact, whether I will or no, with their own alterations by Mr. Dibdin, I presume. I have written to Murray, to the Lord Chamberlain, and to others, to interfere and preserve me from such an exhibition. I want neither the

* Already given in his Journal.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 443
impertinence of their hisses, nor the insolence of their applause. I write only for the reader, and care for nothing but the silent approbation of those who close one’s book with good humour and quiet contentment.

“Now, if you would also write to our friend Perry, to beg of him to mediate with Harris and Elliston to forbear this intent, you will greatly oblige me. The play is quite unfit for the stage, as a single glance will show them, and, I hope, has shown them; and, if it were ever so fit, I will never have any thing to do willingly with the theatres.

“Yours ever, in haste, &c.”
“Ravenna, January 27th, 1821.

“I differ from you about the Dante, which I think should be published with the tragedy. But do as you please: you must be the best judge of your own craft. I agree with you about the title. The play may be good or bad, but I flatter myself that it is original as a picture of that kind of passion, which to my mind is so natural, that I am convinced that I should have done precisely what the Doge did on those provocations.

“I am glad of Foscolo’s approbation.

“Excuse haste. I believe I mentioned to you that—I forget what it was; but no matter.

“Thanks for your compliments of the year. I hope that it will be pleasanter than the last. I speak with reference to England only, as far as regards myself, where I had every kind of disappointment—lost an important lawsuit—and the trustees of Lady Byron refusing to allow of an advantageous loan to be made from my property to Lord Blessington, &c. &c., by way of closing the four seasons. These, and a hundred other such things, made a year of bitter business for me in England. Luckily, things were a little pleasanter for me here, else I should have taken the liberty of Hannibal’s ring.

444 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“Pray thank Gifford for all his goodnesses. The winter is as cold here as Parry’s polarities. I must now take a canter in the forest; my horses are waiting.

“Yours ever and truly.”
“Ravenna, February 2d, 1821.

“Your letter of excuses has arrived. I receive the letter, but do not admit the excuses, except in courtesy; as when a man treads on your toes and begs your pardon, the pardon is granted, but the joint aches, especially if there be a corn upon it. However, I shall scold you presently.

“In the last speech of the Doge, there occurs (I think, from memory) the phrase
‘And Thou who makest and unmakest suns:’
change this to
‘And Thou who kindlest and who quenchest suns;
that is to say, if the verse runs equally well, and
Mr. Gifford thinks the expression improved. Pray have the bounty to attend to this. You are grown quite a minister of state. Mind if some of these days you are not thrown out. * * will not be always a tory, though Johnson says the first whig was the devil.

“You have learnt one secret from Mr. Galignani’s (somewhat tardily acknowledged) correspondence: this is, that an English author may dispose of his exclusive copyright in France,—a fact of some consequence (in time of peace) in the case of a popular writer. Now I will tell you what you shall do, and take no advantage of you, though you were scurvy enough never to acknowledge my letter for three months. Offer Galignani the refusal of the copyright in France; if he refuses, appoint any bookseller in France you please, and I will sign any assignment you please, and it shall never cost you a sou on my account.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 445

“Recollect that I will have nothing to do with it, except as far as it may secure the copyright to yourself. I will have no bargain but with the English booksellers, and I desire no interest out of that country.

“Now, that’s fair and open, and a little handsomer than your dodging silence, to see what would come of it. You are an excellent fellow, mio caro Moray, but there is still a little leaven of Fleet-street about you now and then—a crum of the old loaf. You have no right to act suspiciously with me, for I have given you no reason. I shall always be frank with you; as, for instance, whenever you talk with the votaries of Apollo arithmetically, it should be in guineas, not pounds—to poets, as well as physicians, and bidders at auctions.

“I shall say no more at this present, save that I am

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. If you venture, as you say, to Ravenna this year, I will exercise the rites of hospitality while you live, and bury you handsomely (though not in holy ground), if you get ‘shot or slashed in a creagh or splore,’ which are rather frequent here of late among the native parties. But perhaps your visit may be anticipated; I may probably come to your country; in which case write to her ladyship the duplicate of the epistle the king of France wrote to Prince John.”

“Ravenna, February 16th, 1821.

“In the month of March will arrive from Barcelona Signor Curioni, engaged for the Opera. He is an acquaintance of mine, and a gentlemanly young man, high in his profession. I must request your personal kindness and patronage in his favour. Pray introduce him to such of the theatrical people, editors of papers, and others, as may be useful to him in his profession, publicly and privately.

“The fifth is so far from being the last of Don Juan, that it is hardly the beginning. I meant to take him the tour of Europe, with a proper mixture of siege, battle, and adventure, and to make him finish as Anacharsis Cloots, in the French Revolution. To how many cantos
446 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
this may extend, I know not, nor whether (even if I live) I shall complete it; but this was my notion. I meant to have made him a cavalier servente in Italy, and a cause for a divorce in England, and a sentimental ‘Werther-faced man’ in Germany, so as to show the different ridicules of the society in each of those countries, and to have displayed him gradually gâté and blasé as he grew older, as is natural. But I had not quite fixed whether to make him end in hell, or in an unhappy marriage, not knowing which would be the severest: the Spanish tradition says hell; but it is probably only an allegory of the other state. You are now in possession of my notions on the subject.

“You say the Doge will not be popular: did I ever write for popularity? I defy you to show a work of mine (except a tale or two) of a popular style or complexion. It appears to me that there is room for a different style of the drama; neither a servile following of the old drama, which is a grossly erroneous one, nor yet too French, like those who succeeded the older writers. It appears to me, that good English, and a severer approach to the rules, might combine something not dishonourable to our literature. I have also attempted to make a play without love; and there are neither rings, nor mistakes, nor starts, nor outrageous ranting villains, nor melodrame in it. All this will prevent its popularity, but does not persuade me that it is therefore faulty. Whatever faults it has will arise from deficiency in the conduct, rather than in the conception, which is simple and severe.

“So you epigrammatize upon my epigram? I will pay you for that, mind if I don’t, some day. I never let any one off in the long run (who first begins). Remember * * *, and see if I don’t do you as good a turn. You unnatural publisher! what! quiz your own authors? you are a paper cannibal!

“In the Letter on Bowles (which I sent by Tuesday’s post), after the words ‘attempts had been made,’ (alluding to the republication of ‘English Bards’), add the words, ‘in Ireland;’ for I believe that English pirates did not begin their attempts till after I had left England the second time. Pray attend to this. Let me know what you and your synod think on Bowles.

“I did not think the second seal so bad; surely it is far better
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 447
than the Saracen’s head with which you have sealed your last letter; the larger, in profile, was surely much better than that.

“So Foscolo says he will get you a seal cut better in Italy? he means a throat—that is the only thing they do dexterously. The Arts—all but Canova’s, and Morghen’s, and Ovid’s (I don’t mean poetry),—are as low as need be: look at the seal which I gave to William Bankes, and own it. How came George Bankes to quote ‘English Bards’ in the House of Commons? All the world keep flinging that poem in my face.

Belzoni is a grand traveller, and his English is very prettily broken.

“As for news, the Barbarians are marching on Naples, and if they lose a single battle, all Italy will be up. It will be like the Spanish row, if they have any bottom.

“‘Letters opened?’—to be sure they are, and that’s the reason why I always put in my opinion of the German Austrian scoundrels. There is not an Italian who loathes them more than I do; and whatever I could do to scour Italy and the earth of their infamous oppression would be done con amore.

“Yours, &c
“Ravenna, February 21st, 1821.

“In the forty-fourth page, volume first, of Turner’s Travels (which you lately sent me), it is stated that ‘Lord Byron, when he expressed such confidence of its practicability, seems to have forgotten that Leander swam both ways, with and against the tide; whereas he (Lord Byron) only performed the easiest part of the task by swimming with it from Europe to Asia.’ I certainly could not have forgotten, what is known to every schoolboy, that Leander crossed in the night, and returned towards the morning. My object was, to ascertain that the Hellespont could be crossed at all by swimming, and in this Mr. Ekenhead and myself both succeeded, the one in an hour and ten minutes,
448 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
and the other in one hour and five minutes. The tide was not in our favour; on the contrary, the great difficulty was to bear up against the current, which, so far from helping us into the Asiatic side, set us down right towards the Archipelago. Neither
Mr. Ekenhead, myself, nor, I will venture to add, any person on board the frigate, from Captain Bathurst downwards, had any notion of a difference of the current on the Asiatic side, of which Mr. Turner speaks. I never heard of it till this moment, or I would have taken the other course. Lieutenant Ekenhead’s sole motive, and mine also, for setting out from the European side was, that the little cape above Sestos was a more prominent starting place, and the frigate, which lay below, close under the Asiatic castle, formed a better point of view for us to swim towards; and, in fact, we landed immediately below it.

Mr. Turner says, ‘Whatever is thrown into the stream on this part of the European bank must arrive at the Asiatic shore.’ This is so far from being the case, that it must arrive in the Archipelago, if left to the current, although a strong wind in the Asiatic direction might have such an effect occasionally.

Mr. Turner attempted the passage from the Asiatic side, and failed: ‘After five-and-twenty minutes, in which he did not advance a hundred yards, he gave it up from complete exhaustion.’ This is very possible, and might have occurred to him just as readily on the European side. He should have set out a couple of miles higher, and could then have come out below the European castle. I particularly stated, and Mr. Hobhouse has done so also, that we were obliged to make the real passage of one mile extend to between three and four, owing to the force of the stream. I can assure Mr. Turner, that his success would have given me great pleasure, as it would have added one more instance to the proofs of the probability. It is not quite fair in him to infer, that because he failed, Leander could not succeed. There are still four instances on record: a Neapolitan, a young Jew, Mr. Ekenhead, and myself; the two last done in the presence of hundreds of English witnesses.

“With regard to the difference of the current, I perceived none; it is favourable to the swimmer on neither aide, but may be stemmed by
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 449
plunging into the sea, a considerable way above the opposite point of the coast which the swimmer wishes to make, but still bearing up against it; it is strong, but if you calculate well, you may reach land. My own experience and that of others bids me pronounce the passage of Leander perfectly practicable. Any young man, in good and tolerable skill in swimming, might succeed in it from either side. I was three hours in swimming across the Tagus, which is much more hazardous, being two hours longer than the Hellespont. Of what may be done in swimming, I will mention one more instance. In 1818, the
Chevalier Mengaldo (a gentleman of Bassano), a good swimmer, wished to swim with my friend Mr. Alexander Scott and myself. As he seemed particularly anxious on the subject, we indulged him. We all three started from the island of the Lido and swam to Venice. At the entrance of the Grand Canal, Scott and I were a good way ahead, and we saw no more of our foreign friend, which, however, was of no consequence, as there was a gondola to hold his clothes and pick him up. Scott swam on till past the Rialto, where he got out, less from fatigue than from chill, having been four hours in the water, without rest or stay, except what is to be obtained by floating on one’s back—this being the condition of our performance. I continued my course on to Santa Chiara, comprising the whole of the Grand Canal (besides the distance from the Lido), and got out where the Laguna once more opens to Fusina. I had been in the water, by my watch, without help or rest, and never touching ground or boat, four hours and twenty minutes. To this match, and during the greater part of its performance, Mr. Hoppner, the Consul-general, was witness, and it is well known to many others. Mr. Turner can easily verify the fact, if he thinks it worth while, by referring to Mr. Hoppner. The distance we could not accurately ascertain; it was of course considerable.

“I crossed the Hellespont in one hour and ten minutes only. I am now ten years older in time, and twenty in constitution, than I was when I passed the Dardanelles, and yet two years ago I was capable of swimming four hours and twenty minutes; and I am sure that I could have continued two hours longer, though I had on a pair of trowsers, an accoutrement which by no means assists the performance. My two
450 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
companions were also four hours in the water.
Mengaldo might be about thirty years of age; Scott about six-and-twenty.

“With this experience in swimming at different periods of life, not only upon the spot, but elsewhere, of various persons, what is there to make me doubt that Leander’s exploit was perfectly practicable? If three individuals did more than the passage of the Hellespont, why should he have done less? But Mr. Turner failed, and, naturally seeking a plausible reason for his failure, lays the blame on the Asiatic side of the strait. He tried to swim directly across, instead of going higher up to take the vantage: he might as well have tried to fly over Mount Athos.

“That a young Greek of the heroic times, in love, and with his limbs in full vigour, might have succeeded in such an attempt is neither wonderful nor doubtful. Whether he attempted it or not is another question, because he might have had a small boat to save him the trouble.

“I am yours very truly,

“P.S. Mr. Turner says that the swimming from Europe to Asia was—‘the easiest part of the task.’ I doubt whether Leander found it so, as it was the return; however, he had several hours between the intervals. The argument of Mr. Turner ‘that higher up, or lower down, the strait widens so considerably that he would save little labour by his starting,’ is only good for indifferent swimmers; a man of any practice or skill will always consider the distance less than the strength of the stream. If Ekenhead and myself had thought of crossing at the narrowest point, instead of going up to the Cape above it, we should have been swept down to Tenedos. The strait, however, is not so extremely wide, even where it broadens above and below the forts. As the frigate was stationed some time in the Dardanelles waiting for the firman, I bathed often in the strait subsequently to our traject, and generally on the Asiatic side, without perceiving the greater strength of the opposite stream by which the diplomatic traveller palliates his own failure. Our amusement in the small bay which opens immediately below the Asiatic fort was to dive for the land tortoises, which we flung in on purpose,
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 451
as they amphibiously crawled along the bottom. This does not argue any greater violence of current than on the European shore. With regard to the modest insinuation that we chose the European aide as ‘easier,’ I appeal to
Mr. Hobhouse and Captain Bathurst if it be true or no (poor Ekenhead being since dead.) Had we been aware of any such difference of current as is asserted, we would at least have proved it, and were not likely to have given it up in the twenty-five minutes of Mr. Turner’s own experiment. The secret of all this is, that Mr. Turner failed, and that we succeeded; and he is consequently disappointed, and seems not unwilling to overshadow whatever little merit there might be in our success. Why did he not try the European aide? If he had succeeded there, after failing on the Asiatic, his plea would have been more graceful and gracious. Mr. Turner may find what fault he pleases with my poetry, or my politics; but I recommend him to leave aquatic reflections till he is able to swim ‘five and twenty minutes’ without being ‘exhausted,’ though I believe he is the first modern Tory who ever swam ‘against the stream’ for half the time*.”

“Ravenna, February 22d, 1821.

“As I wish the soul of the late Antoine Galignani to rest in peace (you will have read his death, published by himself, in his own newspaper), you are requested particularly to inform his children and heirs, that of their ‘Literary Gazette,’ to which I subscribed more than two months ago, I have only received one number, notwithstanding I have written to them repeatedly. If they have no regard for me, a subscriber, they ought to have some for their deceased parent, who is undoubtedly no better off in his present residence for this total want of attention. If not, let me have my francs. They were paid by Missiaglia, the Wene-

* To the above letter, which was published at the time, Mr. Turner wrote a reply, but, for reasons stated by himself, did not print it. At his request, I give insertion to his paper in the Appendix.

452 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
tian bookseller. You may also hint to them that when a gentleman writes a letter, it is usual to send an answer. If not, I shall make them ‘a speech,’ which will comprise an eulogy on the deceased.

“We are here full of war, and within two days of the seat of it, expecting intelligence momently. We shall now see if our Italian friends are good for any thing but ‘shooting round a corner’ like the Irishman’s gun. Excuse haste,—I write with my spurs putting on. My horses are at the door, and an Italian Count waiting to accompany me in my ride.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. Pray, amongst my letters, did you get one detailing the death of the commandant here? He was killed near my door, and died in my house.

To the air of ‘How now, Madame Flirt,’ in the Beggars’ Opera.
“Why, how now, saucy Tom,
If you thus must ramble,
I will publish some
Remarks on Mr. Campbell.
“Why, how now, Billy Bowles,
&c. &c. &c.”
“March 2, 1821.

“This was the beginning of a letter which I meant for Perry, but stopped short, hoping you would be able to prevent the theatres. Of course you need not send it; but it explains to you my feelings on the subject. You say that ‘there is nothing to fear, let them do what they please;’ that is to say, that you would see me damned with great tranquillity. You are a fine fellow.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 453
“Ravenna, January 22d, 1821.

“I have received a strange piece of news, which cannot be more disagreeable to your public than it is to me. Letters and the gazettes do me the honour to say that it is the intention of some of the London managers to bring forward on their stage the poem of ‘Marino Faliero,’ &c. which was never intended for such an exhibition, and I trust will never undergo it. It is certainly unfit for it. I have never written but for the solitary reader, and require no experiments for applause beyond his silent approbation. Since such an attempt to drag me forth as a gladiator in the theatrical arena is a violation of all the courtesies of literature, I trust that the impartial part of the press will step between me and this pollution. I say pollution, because every violation of a right is such, and I claim my right as an author to prevent what I have written from being turned into a stage-play. I have too much respect for the public to permit this of my own free will. Had I sought their favour, it would have been by a pantomime.

“I have said that I write only for the reader. Beyond this I cannot consent to any publication, or to the abuse of any publication of mine to the purposes of histrionism. The applauses of an audience would give me no pleasure; their disapprobation might, however, give me pain. The wager is therefore not equal. You may, perhaps, say, ‘How can this be? if their disapprobation gives pain, their praise might afford pleasure?’ By no means: the kick of an ass or the sting of a wasp may be painful to those who would find nothing agreeable in the braying of the one or the buzzing of the other.

“This may not seem a courteous comparison, but I have no other ready; and it occurs naturally.”

454 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“Ravenna, Marzo, 1821.

“In my packet of the 12th instant, in the last sheet (not the half sheet), last page, omit the sentence which (defining, or attempting to define, what and who are gentlemen) begins ‘I should say at least in life that most military men have it, and few naval; that several men of rank have it, and few lawyers,’ &c. &c. I say, omit the whole of that sentence, because, like the ‘cosmogony, or creation of the world,’ in the ‘Vicar of Wakefield,’ it is not much to the purpose.

“In the sentence above, too, almost at the top of the same page, after the words ‘that there ever was, or can be, an aristocracy of poets,’ add and insert these words—‘I do not mean that they should write in the style of the song by a person of quality, or parle euphuism; but there is a nobility of thought and expression to be found no less in Shakspeare, Pope, and Burns, than in Dante, Alfieri,’ &c. &c. and so on. Or, if you please, perhaps you had better omit the whole of the latter digression on the vulgar poets, and insert only as far as the end of the sentence on Pope’s Homer, where I prefer it to Cowper’s, and quote Dr. Clarke in favour of its accuracy.

“Upon all these points, take an opinion; take the sense (or nonsense) of your learned visitants, and act thereby. I am very tractable—in prose.

“Whether I have made out the case for Pope, I know not; but I am very sure that I have been zealous in the attempt. If it comes to the proofs, we shall beat the blackguards. I will show more imagery in twenty lines of Pope than in any equal length of quotation in English poesy, and that in places where they least expect it. For instance, in his lines on Sporus,—now, do just read them over—the subject is of no consequence (whether it be satire or epic)—we are talking of poetry and imagery from nature and art. Now, mark the images separately and arithmetically:—

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 455
1.   The thing of silk.
2.   Curd of ass’s milk.
3.   The butterfly.
4.   The wheel.
5.   Bug with gilded wings.
6.   Painted child of dirt.
7.   Whose buzz.
8.   Well-bred spaniels.
9.   Shallow streams run dimpling.
10.  Florid impotence.
11.  Prompter.   Puppet squeaks.
12.  The ear of Eve.
13.  Familiar toad.
14.  Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad.
15.  Fop at the toilet.
16.  Flatterer at the board.
17.  Amphibious thing.
18.  Now trips a lady.
19.  Now struts a lord.
20.  A cherub’s face.
21.  A reptile all the rest.
22.  The Rabbins.
23.  Pride that licks the dust
‘Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust,
Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.

“Now, is there a line of all the passage without the most forcible imagery (for his purpose)? Look at the variety—at the poetry of the passage—at the imagination: there is hardly a line from which a painting might not be made, and is. But this is nothing in comparison with his higher passages in the Essay on Man, and many of his other poems, serious and comic. There never was such an unjust outcry in this world as that which these fellows are trying against Pope.

“Ask Mr. Gifford if, in the fifth act of ‘the Doge’ you could not contrive (where the sentence of the Veil is passed) to insert the following lines in Marino Faliero’s answer?

“But let it be so. It will be in vain:
The veil which blackens o’er this blighted name,
456 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
And hides, or seems to hide, these lineaments,
Shall draw more gazers than the thousand portraits
Which glitter round it in their painted trappings,
Your delegated slaves—the people’s tyrants*.
“Yours truly, &c.

“P.S. Upon public matters here I say little: you will all hear soon enough of a general row throughout Italy. There never was a more foolish step than the expedition to Naples by these fellows.

“I wish to propose to Holmes, the miniature painter, to come out to me this spring. I will pay his expenses, and any sum in reason. I wish him to take my daughter’s picture (who is in a convent) and the Countess G.’s, and the head of a peasant girl, which latter would make a study for Raphael. It is a complete peasant face, but an Italian peasant’s, and quite in the Raphael Fornarina style. Her figure is tall, but rather large, and not at all comparable to her face, which is really superb. She is not seventeen, and I am anxious to have her face while it lasts. Madame G. is also very handsome, but it is quite in a different style—completely blonde and fair—very uncommon in Italy; yet not an English fairness, but more like a Swede or a Norwegian. Her figure, too, particularly the bust, is uncommonly good. It must be Holmes: I like him because be takes such inveterate likenesses. There is a war here; but a solitary traveller, with little baggage, and nothing to do with politics, has nothing to fear. Pack him up in the Diligence. Don’t forget.”

“Ravenna, April 3d, 1821.

“Thanks for the translation. I have sent you some books, which I do not know whether you have read or no—you need not return them, in any case. I enclose you also a letter from Pisa. I have neither spared trouble nor expense in the care of the child; and as she was now

* These lines,—perhaps from some difficulty in introducing them,—were never inserted in the Tragedy.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 457
four years old complete, and quite above the control of the servants.—and as a man living without any woman at the head of his house cannot much attend to a nursery—I had no resource but to place her for a time (at a high pension too) in the convent of Bagna-Cavalli (twelve miles off), where the air is good, and where she will, at least, have her learning advanced, and her morals and religion inculcated*. I had also another reason;—things were and are in such a state here, that I had no reason to look upon my own personal safety as particularly insurable; and I thought the infant best out of harm’s way, for the present.

“It is also fit that I should add that I by no means intended, nor intend, to give a natural child an English education, because with the disadvantages of her birth, her after settlement would be doubly difficult. Abroad, with a fair foreign education and a portion of five or six thousand pounds, she might and may marry very respectably. In England such a dowry would be a pittance, while elsewhere it is a fortune. It is, besides, my wish that she should be a Roman Catholic, which I look upon as the best religion, as it is assuredly the oldest of the various branches of Christianity. I have now explained my notions as to the place where she now is—it is the best I could find for the present; but I have no prejudices in its favour.

“I do not speak of politics, because it seems a hopeless subject, as long as those scoundrels are to be permitted to bully states out of their independence. Believe me

“Yours ever and truly.

“P.S. There is a report here of a change in France; but with what truth is not yet known.

“P.S. My respects to Mrs. H. I have the ‘best opinion’ of her countrywomen; and at my time of life (three and thirty, 22d January, 1821), that is to say, after the life I have led, a good opinion is the only rational one which a man should entertain of the whole sex:—up

* With such anxiety did he look to this essential part of his daughter’s education, that notwithstanding the many advantages she was sure to derive from the kind and feminine superintendence of Mrs. Shelley, his apprehensions lest her feeling upon religious subjects might be disturbed by the conversation of Shelley himself prevented him from allowing her to remain under his friend’s roof.

458 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
to thirty, the worst possible opinion a man can have of them in general, the better for himself. Afterwards, it is a matter of no importance to them, nor to him either, what opinion he entertains—his day is over, or, at least, should be.

“You see how sober I am become.”

“Ravenna, April 21st, 1821.

“I enclose you another letter on Bowles. But I premise that it is not like the former, and that I am not at all sure how much, if any, of it should be published. Upon this point you can consult with Mr. Gifford, and think twice before you publish it at all.

“Yours truly,

“P.S. You may make my subscription for Mr. Scott’s widow, &c. thirty instead of the proposed ten pounds: but do not put down my name; put down N. N. only. The reason is, that, as I have mentioned him in the enclosed pamphlet, it would look indelicate. I would give more, but my disappointments last year about Rochdale and the transfer from the funds render me more economical for the present.

“Ravenna, April 26th, 1821.

“The child continues doing well, and the accounts are regular and favourable. It is gratifying to me that you and Mrs. Shelley do not disapprove of the step which I have taken, which is merely temporary.

“I am very sorry to hear what you say of Keats—is it actually true? I did not think criticism had been so killing. Though I differ from you essentially in your estimate of his performances, I so much abhor all unnecessary pain, that I would rather he had been seated on the highest peak of Parnassus than have perished in such a manner.
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 459
Poor fellow! though with such inordinate self-love he would probably have not been very happy. I read the
review of ‘Endymion’ in the Quarterly. It was severe,—but surely not so severe as many reviews in that and other journals upon others.

“I recollect the effect on me of the Edinburgh on my first poem; it was rage, and resistance, and redress—but not despondency nor despair. I grant that those are not amiable feelings; but, in this world of bustle and broil, and especially in the career of writing, a man should calculate upon his powers of resistance before he goes into the arena.
‘Expect not life from pain nor danger free,
Nor deem the doom of man reversed for thee.’

“You know my opinion of that second-hand school of poetry. You also know my high opinion of your own poetry,—because it is of no school. I read Cenci—but, besides that I think the subject essentially undramatic, I am not an admirer of our old dramatists, as models. I deny that the English have hitherto had a drama at all. Your Cenci, however, was a work of power, and poetry. As to my drama, pray revenge yourself upon it, by being as free as I have been with yours.

“I have not yet got your Prometheus, which I long to see. I have heard nothing of mine, and do not know that it is yet published. I have published a pamphlet on the Pope controversy, which you will not like. Had I known that Keats was dead—or that he was alive and so sensitive—I should have omitted some remarks upon his poetry, to which I was provoked by his attack upon Pope, and my disapprobation of his own style of writing.

“You want me to undertake a great Poem—I have not the inclination nor the power. As I grow older, the indifference—not to life, for we love it by instinct—but to the stimuli of life, increases. Besides, this late failure of the Italians has latterly disappointed me for many reasons—some public, some personal. My respects to Mrs. S.

“Yours ever.

“P.S. Could not you and I contrive to meet this summer? Could not you take a run here alone?

460 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“Ravenna, April 26th, 1821.

“I sent you by last postis a large packet, which will not do for publication (I suspect), being, as the apprentices say, ‘damned low.’ I put off also for a week or two sending the Italian scrawl which will form a note to it. The reason is that, letters being opened, I wish to ‘bide a wee.’

“Well, have you published the Tragedy? and does the Letter take?

“Is it true, what Shelley writes me, that poor John Keats died at Rome of the Quarterly Review? I am very sorry for it, though I think he took the wrong line as a poet, and was spoilt by Cockneyfying, and suburbing, and versifying Tooke’s Pantheon and Lempriere’s Dictionary. I know, by experience, that a savage review is hemlock to a sucking author; and the one on me (which produced the English Bards, &c.) knocked me down—but I got up again. Instead of bursting a blood-vessel, I drank three bottles of claret, and begun an answer, finding that there was nothing in the article for which I could lawfully knock Jeffrey on the head, in an honourable way. However, I would not be the person who wrote the homicidal article for all the honour and glory in the world, though I by no means approve of that school of scribbling which it treats upon.

“You see the Italians have made a sad business of it,—all owing to treachery and disunion amongst themselves. It has given me great vexation. The execrations heaped upon the Neapolitans by the other Italians are quite in unison with those of the rest of Europe.

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. Your latest packet of books is on its way here, but not arrived. Kenilworth excellent. Thanks for the pocket-books, of which I have made presents to those ladies who like cuts, and landscapes, and all that. I have got an Italian book or two which I should like to send you if I had an opportunity.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 461

“I am not at present in the very highest health,—spring, probably; so I have lowered my diet and taken to Epsom saits.

“As you say my prose is good, why don’t you treat with Moore for the reversion of the Memoirs?—conditionally, recollect; not to be published before decease. He has the permission to dispose of them, and I advised him to do so.”

“Ravenna, April 28th, 1821.

“You cannot have been more disappointed than myself, nor so much deceived. I have been so at some personal risk also, which is not yet done away with. However, no time nor circumstances shall alter my tone nor my feelings of indignation against tyranny triumphant. The present business has been as much a work of treachery as of cowardice,—though both may have done their part. If ever you and I meet again, I will have a talk with you upon the subject. At present, for obvious reasons, I can write but little, as all letters are opened. In mine they shall always find my sentiments, but nothing that can lead to the oppression of others.

“You will please to recollect that the Neapolitans are nowhere now more execrated than in Italy, and not blame a whole people for the vices of a province. That would be like condemning Great Britain because they plunder wrecks in Cornwall.

“And now, let us be literary;—a sad falling off, but it is always a consolation. If ‘Othello’s occupation be gone,’ let us take to the next best; and, if we cannot contribute to make mankind more free and wise, we may amuse ourselves and those who like it. What are you writing? I have been scribbling at intervals, and Murray will be publishing about now.

Lady Noel has, as you say, been dangerously ill; but it may console you to learn that she is dangerously well again.

“I have written a sheet or two more of Memoranda for you; and I
462 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
kept a little Journal for about a month or two, till I had filled the paper-book. I then left it off, as things grew busy and, afterwards, too gloomy to set down without a painful feeling. This I should be glad to send you, if I had an opportunity; but a volume, however small, don’t go well by such posts as exist in this Inquisition of a country.

“I have no news. As a very pretty woman said to me a few nights ago, with the tears in her eyes, as she sat at the harpsichord, ‘Alas! the Italians must now return to making operas.’ I fear that and maccaroni are their forte, and ‘motley their only wear.’ However, there are some high spirits among them still. Pray write.

“And believe me, &c.”
“Ravenna, May 3d, 1821.

“Though I wrote to you on the 28th ultimo, I must acknowledge yours of this day, with the lines†. They are sublime, as well as beautiful, and in your very best mood and manner. They are also but too true. However, do not confound the scoundrels at the heel of the boot with their betters at the top of it. I assure you that there are some loftier spirits.

“Nothing, however, can be better than your poem, or more deserved by the Lazzaroni. They are now abhorred and disclaimed nowhere more than here. We will talk over these things (if we meet) some day, and I will recount my own adventures, some of which have been a little hazardous, perhaps.

“So, you have got the Letter on Bowles‡? I do not recollect to have said any thing of you that could offend,—certainly, nothing intentionally. As for * *, I meant him a compliment. I wrote the whole

† “Ay, down to the dust with them, slaves an they are,” &c. &c.

‡ I had not, when I wrote, seen this pamphlet, as he supposes, but had merely heard from some friends, that his pen had “run a-muck” in it, and that I myself had not escaped a slight graze in its career.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 463
off-hand, without copy or correction, and expecting then every day to be called into the field. What have I said of you? I am sure I forget. It must be something of regret for your approbation of
Bowles. And did you not approve, as he says? Would I had known that before! I would have given him some more gruel*. My intention was to make fun of all these fellows; but how I succeed, I don’t know.

“As to Pope, I have always regarded him as the greatest name in our poetry. Depend upon it, the rest are barbarians. He is a Greek Temple, with a Gothic Cathedral on one hand, and a Turkish Mosque and all sorts of fantastic pagodas and conventicles about him. You may call Shakspeare and Milton pyramids, if you please, but I prefer the Temple of Theseus or the Parthenon to a mountain of burnt brickwork.

“The Murray has written to me but once, the day of its publication, when it seemed prosperous. But I have heard of late from England but rarely. Of Murray’s other publications (of mine), I know nothing,—nor whether he has published. He was to have done so a month ago. I wish you would do something,—or that we were together.

“Ever yours and affectionately,

It was at this time that he began, under the title of “Detached Thoughts,” that Book of Notices or Memorandums, from which, in the course of these pages, I have extracted so many curious illustrations of his life and opinions, and of which the opening article is as follows:

“Amongst various Journals, Memoranda, Diaries, &c. which I have

* It may be sufficient to say of the use to which both Lord Byron and Mr. Bowles thought it worth their while to apply my name in this controversy, that, as far as my own knowledge of the subject extended, I was disposed to agree with neither of the extreme opinions into which, as it appeared to me, my distinguished friends had diverged;—neither with Lord Byron in that spirit of partisanship which led him to place Pope above Shakspeare and Milton, nor with Mr. Bowles in such an application of the “principles” of poetry as could tend to sink Pope, on the scale of his art, to any rank below the very first. Such being the middle state of my opinion on the question, it will not be difficult to understand how one of my controversial friends should be as mistaken in supposing me to differ altogether from his views, as the other was in taking for granted that I had ranged myself wholly on his side.

464 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
kept in the course of my living, I begun one about three months ago, and carried it on till I had filled one paper-book (thinnish), and two sheets or so of another. I then left off, partly because I thought we should have some business here, and I had furbished up my arms and got my apparatus ready for taking a turn with the patriots, having my drawers full of their proclamations, oaths, and resolutions, and my lower rooms of their hidden weapons, of most calibres,—and partly because I had filled my paper-book.

“But the Neapolitans have betrayed themselves and all the world; and those who would have given their blood for Italy can now only give her their tears.

“Some day or other, if dust holds together, I have been enough in the secret (at least in this part of the country) to cast perhaps some little light upon the atrocious treachery which has replunged Italy into barbarism: at present, I have neither the time nor the temper. However, the real Italians are not to blame; merely the scoundrels at the heel of the boot, which the Hun now wears, and will trample them to ashes with for their servility. I have risked myself with the others here, and how far I may or may not be compromised is a problem at this moment. Some of them, like Craigengelt, would ‘tell all, and more than all, to save themselves.’ But, come what may, the cause was a glorious one, though it reads at present as if the Greeks had run away from Xerxes. Happy the few who have only to reproach themselves with believing that these rascals were less ‘rascaille’ than they proved!—Here in Romagna, the efforts were necessarily limited to preparations and good intentions, until the Germans were fairly engaged in equal warfare—as we are upon their very frontiers, without a single fort or hill nearer than San Marino. Whether ‘hell will be paved with’ those ‘good intentions,’ I know not; but there will probably be good store of Neapolitans to walk upon the pavement, whatever may be its composition. Slabs of lava from their mountain, with the bodies of their own damned souls for cement, would be the fittest causeway for Satan’s ‘Corso.’”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 465
“Ravenna, May 10th, 1821.

“I have just got your packet. I am obliged to Mr. Bowles, and Mr. Bowles is obliged to me, for having restored him to good-humour. He is to write, and you to publish, what you please,—motto and subject. I desire nothing but fair play for all parties. Of course, after the new tone of Mr. Bowles, you will not publish my defence of Gilchrist: it would be brutal to do so after his urbanity, for it is rather too rough, like his own attack upon Gilchrist. You may tell him what I say there of his Missionary (it is praised, as it deserves). However, and if there are any passages not personal to Bowles, and yet bearing upon the question, you may add them to the reprint (if it is reprinted) of my first Letter to you. Upon this consult Gifford; and, above all, don’t let any thing be added which can personally affect Mr. Bowles.

“In the enclosed notes, of course what I say of the democracy of poetry cannot apply to Mr. Bowles, but to the Cockney and water washing-tub schools.

“I hope and trust that Elliston won’t be permitted to act the drama? Surely he might have the grace to wait for Kean’s return before he attempted it; though, even then, I should be as much against the attempt as ever.

“I have got a small packet of books, but neither Waldegrave, Oxford, nor Scott’s novels among them. Why don’t you republish Hodgson’s Childe Harold’s Monitor and Latino-mastix? they are excellent. Think of this,—they are all for Pope.

“Yours, &c.”

The controversy, in which Lord Byron, with so much grace and good-humour, thus allowed himself to be disarmed by the courtesy of his antagonist, it is not my intention to run the risk of reviving by any inquiry into its origin or merits. In all such discussions on matters of
466 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
mere taste and opinion, where, on one side, it is the aim of the disputants to elevate the object of the contest, and, on the other, to depreciate it, Truth will usually be found, like
Shakspeare’s gatherer of samphire on the cliff, “half-way down.” Whatever judgment, however, may be formed respecting the controversy itself, of the urbanity and gentle feeling, on both sides, which (notwithstanding some slight trials of this good understanding afterwards) led ultimately to the result anticipated in the foregoing letter, there can be but one opinion; and it is only to be wished that such honourable forbearance were as sure of imitators as it is, deservedly, of eulogists. In the lively pages thus suppressed, when ready fledged for flight, with a power of self-command rarely exercised by wit, there are some passages, of a general nature, too curious to be lost, which I shall accordingly proceed to extract for the reader.

Pope himself ‘sleeps well-nothing can touch him further;’ but those who love the honour of their country, the perfection of her literature, the glory of her language, are not to be expected to permit an atom of his dust to be stirred in his tomb, or a leaf to be stripped from the laurel which grows over it.

* * * * * *

“To me it appears of no very great consequence whether Martha Blount was or was not Pope’s mistress, though I could have wished him a better. She appears to have been a cold-hearted, interested, ignorant, disagreeable woman, upon whom the tenderness of Pope’s heart in the desolation of his latter days was cast away, not knowing whither to turn, as he drew towards his premature old age, childless and lonely,—like the needle which, approaching within a certain distance of the pole, becomes helpless and useless, and, ceasing to tremble, rusts. She seems to have been so totally unworthy of tenderness, that it is an additional proof of the kindness of Pope’s heart to have been able to love such a being. But we must love something. I agree with Mr. B. that she ‘could at no time have regarded Pope personally, with attachment,’ because she was incapable of attachment; but I deny that Pope could not be regarded with personal attachment by a worthier woman. It is not
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 467
probable, indeed, that a woman would have fallen in love with him as he walked along the Mall, or in a box at the opera, nor from a balcony, nor in a ball-room; but in society he seems to have been as amiable as unassuming, and, with the greatest disadvantages of figure, his head and face were remarkably handsome, especially his eyes. He was adored by his friends—friends of the most opposite dispositions, ages, and talents—by the old and wayward
Wycherley, by the cynical Swift, the rough Atterbury, the gentle Spence, the stern attorney-bishop Warburton, the virtuous Berkeley, and the ‘cankered Bolingbroke.’ Bolingbroke wept over him like a child; and Spence’s description of his last moments is at least as edifying as the more ostentatious account of the deathbed of Addison. The soldier Peterborough and the poet Gay, the witty Congreve and the laughing Rowe, the eccentric Cromwell and the steady Bathurst, were all his intimates. The man who could conciliate so many men of the most opposite description, not one of whom but was a remarkable or a celebrated character, might well have pretended to all the attachment which a reasonable man would desire of an amiable woman.

Pope, in fact, wherever he got it, appears to have understood the sex well. Bolingbroke, ‘a judge of the subject,’ says Warton, thought his ‘Epistle on the Characters of Women’ his ‘masterpiece.’ And even with respect to the grosser passion, which takes occasionally the name of ‘romantic,’ accordingly as the degree of sentiment elevates it above the definition of love by Buffon, it may be remarked, that it does not always depend upon personal appearance, even in a woman. Madame Cottin was a plain woman, and might have been virtuous, it may be presumed, without much interruption. Virtuous she was, and the consequences of this inveterate virtue were that two different admirers (one an elderly gentleman) killed themselves in despair (see Lady Morgan’sFrance’). I would not, however, recommend this rigour to plain women in general, in the hope of securing the glory of two suicides apiece. I believe that there are few men who, in the course of their observations on life, may not have perceived that it is not the greatest female beauty who forms the longest and the strongest passions.

“But, apropos of Pope.—Voltaire tells us that the Marechal Luxem-
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bourg (who had precisely Pope’s figure) was not only somewhat too amatory for a great man, but fortunate in his attachments.
La Valière, the passion of Louis XIV., had an unsightly defect. The Princess of Eboli, the mistress of Philip the Second of Spain, and Maugiron, the minion of Henry the Third of France, had each of them lost an eye; and the famous Latin epigram was written upon them, which has, I believe, been either translated or imitated by Goldsmith;—

‘Lumine Acon dextro, capta est Leonilla sinistro,
Et potis est forma vincere uterque Deos;
Blande puer, lumen quod habes concede sorori,
Sic tu cæcus Amor, sic erit illa Venus.’

Wilkes, with his ugliness, used to say that ‘he was but a quarter of an hour behind the handsomest man in England;’ and this vaunt of his is said not to have been disproved by circumstances. Swift, when neither young, nor handsome, nor rich, nor even amiable, inspired the two most extraordinary passions upon record, Vanessa’s and Stella’s.
Vanessa, aged scarce a score,
Sighs for a gown of forty-four.

“He requited them bitterly; for he seems to have broken the heart of the one, and worn out that of the other; and he had his reward, for he died a solitary idiot in the hands of servants.

“For my own part, I am of the opinion of Pausanias, that success in love depends upon Fortune. ‘They particularly renounce Celestial Venus, into whose temple, &c. &c. &c. I remember, too, to have seen a building in Ægina in which there is a statue of Fortune, holding a horn of Amalthea; and near her there is a winged Love. The meaning of this is, that the success of men in love-affairs depends more on the assistance of Fortune than the charms of beauty. I am persuaded, too, with Pindar (to whose opinion I submit in other particulars), that Fortune is one of the Fates, and that in a certain respect she is more powerful than her sisters.’—See Pausanias, Achaics, book vii. chap. 26, page 246, ‘Taylor’s Translation.’

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 469

Grimm has a remark of the same kind on the different destinies of the younger Crebillon and Rousseau. The former writes a licentious novel, and a young English girl of some fortune and family (a Miss Strafford) runs away, and crosses the sea to marry him; while Rousseau, the most tender and passionate of lovers, is obliged to espouse his chambermaid. If I recollect rightly, this remark was also repeated in the Edinburgh Review of Grimm’s Correspondence, seven or eight years ago.

“In regard ‘to the strange mixture of indecent, and sometimes profane levity, which his conduct and language often exhibited,’ and which so much shocks Mr. Bowles, I object to the indefinite word ‘often;’ and in extenuation of the occasional occurrence of such language it is to be recollected, that it was less the tone of Pope, than the tone of the time. With the exception of the correspondence of Pope and his friends, not many private letters of the period have come down to us: but those, such as they are—a few scattered scraps from Farquhar and others—are more indecent and coarse than any thing in Pope’s letters. The comedies of Congreve, Vanbrugh, Farquhar, Cibber, &c., which naturally attempted to represent the manners and conversation of private life, are decisive upon this point; as are also some of Steele’s papers, and even Addison’s. We all know what the conversation of Sir R. Walpole, for seventeen years the prime-minister of the country, was at his own table, and his excuse for his licentious language, viz., ‘that every body understood that, but few could talk rationally upon less common topics.’ The refinement of latter days,—which is perhaps the consequence of vice, which wishes to mask and soften itself, as much as of virtuous civilization,—had not yet made sufficient progress. Even Johnson, in his ‘London,’ has two or three passages which cannot be read aloud, and Addison’s ‘Drummer’ some indelicate allusions.”

To the extract that follows I beg to call the particular attention of the reader. Those who at all remember the peculiar bitterness and violence with which the gentleman here commemorated assailed Lord Byron, at a crisis when both his heart and fame were most vulnerable,
470 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
will, if I am not mistaken, feel a thrill of pleasurable admiration in reading these sentences, such as alone can convey any adequate notion of the proud, generous pleasure that must have been felt in writing them.

“Poor Scott is now no more. In the exercise of his vocation, he contrived at last to make himself the subject of a coroner’s inquest. But he died like a brave man, and he lived an able one. I knew him personally, though slightly. Although several years my senior, we had been schoolfellows together at the ‘grammar-schule’ (or, as the Aberdonians pronounce it, ‘squeel’) of New Aberdeen. He did not behave to me quite handsomely in his capacity of editor a few years ago, but he was under no obligation to behave otherwise. The moment was too tempting for many friends and for all enemies. At a time when all my relations (save one) fell from me like leaves from the tree in autumn winds, and my few friends became still fewer,—when the whole periodical press (I mean the daily and weekly, not the literary press) was let loose against me in every shape of reproach, with the two strange exceptions (from their usual opposition) of ‘the Courier’ and ‘the Examiner,’—the paper of which Scott had the direction was neither the last, nor the least vituperative. Two years ago I met him at Venice, when he was bowed in griefs by the loss of his son, and had known, by experience, the bitterness of domestic privation. He was then earnest with me to return to England; and on my telling him, with a smile, that he was once of a different opinion, he replied to me, ‘that he and others had been greatly misled; and that some pains, and rather extraordinary means, had been taken to excite them.’ Scott is no more, but there are more than one living who were present at this dialogue. He was a man of very considerable talents, and of great acquirements. He had made his way, as a literary character, with high success, and in a few years. Poor fellow! I recollect his joy at some appointment which he had obtained, or was to obtain, through Sir James Mackintosh, and which prevented the further extension (unless by a rapid run to Rome) of his travels in Italy. I little thought to what it would conduct him. Peace be with him!—and may
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 471
all such other faults as are inevitable to humanity be as readily forgiven him, as the little injury which he had done to one who respected his talents and regrets his loss.”

In reference to some complaints made by Mr. Bowles, in his Pamphlet, of a charge of “hypochondriacism” which he supposed to have been brought against him by his assailant, Mr. Gilchrist, the noble writer thus proceeds:—

“I cannot conceive a man in perfect health being much affected by such a charge, because his complexion and conduct must amply refute it. But were it true, to what does it amount?—to an impeachment of a liver complaint. ‘I will tell it to the world,’ exclaimed the learned Smelfungus: ‘you had better (said I) tell it to your physician.’ There is nothing dishonourable in such a disorder, which is more peculiarly the malady of students. It has been the complaint of the good and the wise and the witty, and even of the gay. Regnard, the author of the last French comedy after Molière, was atrabilarious, and Molière himself saturnine. Dr. Johnson. Gray, and Burns, were all more or less affected by it occasionally. It was the prelude to the more awful malady of Collins, Cowper, Swift, and Smart; but it by no means follows that a partial affliction of this disorder is to terminate like theirs. But even were it so,
‘Nor best, nor wisest, are exempt from thee;
Folly—Folly’s only free.’

* * * * * * *. Mendehlson and Bayle were at times so overcome with this depression as to be obliged to recur to seeing ‘puppet-shows,’ and ‘counting tiles upon the opposite houses,’ to divert themselves. Dr. Johnson, at times, ‘would have given a limb to recover his spirits.’

* * * * * *

“In page 14 we have a large assertion that ‘the Eloisa alone is sufficient to convict him (Pope) of gross licentiousness.’ Thus, out it comes at last—Mr. B. does accuse Pope of ‘gross licentiousness,’ and grounds the charge upon a Poem. The licentiousness is a ‘grand peut-être,’ according to the turn of the times being:—the grossness I deny.
472 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
On the contrary, I do believe that such a subject never was, nor ever could be, treated by any poet with so much delicacy mingled with, at the same time, such true and intense passion. Is the ‘Atys’ of
Catullus licentious? No, nor even gross; and yet Catullus is often a coarse writer. The subject is nearly the same, except that Atys was the suicide of his manhood, and Abelard the victim.

“The ‘licentiousness’ of the story was not Pope’s,—it was a fact. All that it had of gross he has softened; all that it had of indelicate he has purified; all that it had of passionate he has beautified; all that it had of holy he has hallowed. Mr. Campbell has admirably marked this in a few words (I quote from memory), in drawing the distinction between Pope and Dryden, and pointing out where Dryden was wanting. ‘I fear,’ says he, ‘that had the subject of ‘Eloisa’ fallen into his (Dryden’s) hands, that he would have given us but a coarse draft of her passion.’ Never was the delicacy of Pope so much shown as in this poem. With the facts and the letters of ‘Eloisa’ he has done what no other mind but that of the best and purest of poets could have accomplished with such materials. Ovid, Sappho (in the Ode called hers)—all that we have of ancient, all that we have of modern poetry, sinks into nothing compared with him in this production.

“Let us hear no more of this trash about ‘licentiousness.’ Is not ‘Anacreon’ taught in our schools?—translated, praised, and edited? * * * * * and are the English schools or the English women the more corrupt for all this? When you have thrown the ancients into the fire, it will be time to denounce the moderns. ‘Licentiousness!’—there is more real mischief and sapping licentiousness in a single French prose novel, in a Moravian hymn, or a German comedy, than in all the actual poetry that ever was penned or poured forth since the rhapsodies of Orpheus. The sentimental anatomy of Rousseau and Mad. de S. are far more formidable than any quantity of verse. They are so, because they sap the principles by reasoning upon the passions; whereas poetry is in itself passion, and does not systematize. It assails, but does not argue; it may be wrong, but it does not assume pretensions to optimism.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 473

Mr. Bowles having, in his pamphlet, complained of some anonymous communication which he had received, Lord Byron thus comments on the circumstance.

“I agree with Mr. B. that the intention was to annoy him; but I fear that this was answered by his notice of the reception of the criticism. An anonymous writer has but one means of knowing the effect of his attack. In this he has the superiority over the viper; he knows that his poison has taken effect when he hears the victim cry;—the adder is deaf. The best reply to an anonymous intimation is to take no notice directly nor indirectly. I wish Mr. B. could see only one or two of the thousand which I have received in the course of a literary life, which, though begun early, has not yet extended to a third part of his existence as an author. I speak of literary life only;—were I to add personal, I might double the amount of anonymous letters. If he could but see the violence, the threats, the absurdity of the whole thing, he would laugh, and so should I, and thus be both gainers.

“To keep up the farce, within the last month of this present writing (1821), I have had my life threatened in the same way which menaced Mr. B.’s fame, excepting that the anonymous denunciation was addressed to the Cardinal Legate of Romagna, instead of to * * * *. I append the menace in all its barbaric but literal Italian, that Mr. B. may be convinced; and as this is the only ‘promise to pay’ which the Italians ever keep, so my person has been at least as much exposed to ‘a shot in the gloaming’ from ‘John Heatherblutter’ (see Waverley), as ever Mr. B’s glory was from an editor. I am, nevertheless, on horseback and lonely for some hours (one of them twilight) in the forest daily; and this, because it was my ‘custom in the afternoon,’ and that I believe if the tyrant cannot escape amidst his guards (should it be so written), so the humbler individual would find precautions useless.”

The following just tribute to my Reverend friend’s merits as a poet I have peculiar pleasure in extracting.

Mr. Bowles has no reason to ‘succumb’ but to Mr. Bowles. As a poet, the author of ‘the Missionary’ may compete with the foremost of his cotemporaries. Let it be recollected, that all my previous opinions
474 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
of Mr. Bowles’s poetry were written long before the publication of his last and best poem; and that a poet’s last poem should be his best, is his highest praise. But, however, he may duly and honourably rank with his living rivals, &c. &c. &c.”

Among various Addenda for this pamphlet, sent at different times to Mr. Murray, I find the following curious passages.

“It is worthy of remark that, after all this outcry about ‘in-door nature’ and ‘artificial images,’ Pope was the principal inventor of that boast of the English, Modern Gardening. He divides this honour with Milton. Hear Warton:—‘It hence appears that this enchanting art of modern gardening, in which this kingdom claims a preference over every nation in Europe, chiefly owes its origin and its improvements to two great poets, Milton and Pope.’

Walpole (no friend to Pope) asserts that Pope formed Kent’s taste, and that Kent was the artist to whom the English are chiefly indebted for diffusing ‘a taste in laying out grounds.’ The design of the Prince of Wales’s garden was copied from Pope’s at Twickenham. Warton applauds ‘his singular effort of art and taste, in impressing so much variety and scenery on a spot of five acres.’ Pope was the first who ridiculed the ‘formal, French, Dutch, false and unnatural taste in gardening,’ both in prose and verse. (See, for the former, ‘the Guardian.’)

“‘Pope has given not only some of our first but best rules and observations on Architecture and Gardening.’ (See Warton’s Essay, vol. ii. p. 237, &c. &c.)

“Now, is it not a shame, after this, to hear our Lakers in ‘Kendal green,’ and our Bucolical Cockneys, crying out (the latter in a wilderness of bricks and mortar) about ‘Nature,’ and Pope’s ‘artificial in-door habits?’ Pope had seen all of nature that England alone can supply. He was bred in Windsor Forest, and amidst the beautiful scenery of Eton; he lived familiarly and frequently at the country seats of Bathurst, Cobham, Burlington, Peterborough, Digby, and Bolingbroke; amongst whose seats was to be numbered Stowe. He made his own little ‘five acres’ a model to Princes, and to the first of our artists who imitated
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 475
Warton thinks ‘that the most engaging of Kent’s works was also planned on the model of Pope’s—at least in the opening and retiring shades of Venus’s Vale.’

“It is true that Pope was infirm and deformed; but he could walk, and he could ride (he rode to Oxford from London at a stretch), and he was famous for an exquisite eye. On a tree at Lord Bathurst’s is carved, ‘Here Pope sang,’—he composed beneath it. Bolingbroke, in one of his letters, represents them both writing in the hayfield. No poet ever admired Nature more, or used her better, than Pope has done, as I will undertake to prove from his works, prose and verse, if not anticipated in so easy and agreeable a labour. I remember a passage in Walpole, somewhere, of a gentleman who wished to give directions about some willows to a man who had long served Pope in his grounds: ‘I understand, sir,’ he replied: ‘you would have them hang down, sir, somewhat poetical.’ Now if nothing existed but this little anecdote, it would suffice to prove Pope’s taste for Nature, and the impression which he had made on a common-minded man. But I have already quoted Warton and Walpole (both his enemies), and, were it necessary, I could amply quote Pope himself for such tributes to Nature as no poet of the present day has even approached.

“His various excellence is really wonderful: architecture, painting, gardening, all are alike subject to his genius. Be it remembered, that English gardening is the purposed perfectioning of niggard Nature, and that without it England is but a hedge-and-ditch, double-post-and-rail, Hounslow-heath and Clapham-common sort of country, since the principal forests have been felled. It is, in general, far from a picturesque country. The case is different with Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; and I except also the lake counties and Derbyshire, together with Eton, Windsor, and my own dear Harrow on the Hill, and some spots near the coast. In the present rank fertility of ‘great poets of the age,’ and ‘schools of poetry’—a word which, like ‘schools of eloquence’ and of ‘philosophy,’ is never introduced till the decay of the art has increased with the number of its professors—in the present day, then, there have sprung up two sorts of Naturals;—the Lakers, who whine about Nature because they live in Cumberland; and their under-sect (which some one
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has maliciously called the ‘Cockney School’), who are enthusiastical for the country, because they live in London. It is to be observed, that the rustical founders are rather anxious to disclaim any connexion with their metropolitan followers, whom they ungraciously review, and call cockneys, atheists, foolish fellows, bad writers, and other hard names not less ungrateful than unjust. I can understand the pretensions of the aquatic gentlemen of Windermere to what
Mr. B * * terms ‘entusumusy,’ for lakes, and mountains, and daffodils, and buttercups; but I should be glad to be apprized of the foundation of the London propensities of their imitative brethren to the same ‘high argument.’ Southey, Wordsworth, and Coleridge have rambled over half Europe, and seen Nature in most of her varieties (although I think that they have occasionally not used her very well); but what on earth—of earth, and sea, and Nature—have the others seen? Not a half, nor a tenth part so much as Pope. While they sneer at his Windsor Forest, have they ever seen any thing of Windsor except its brick?
* * *

“When they have really seen life—when they have felt it—when they have travelled beyond the far distant boundaries of the wilds of Middlesex—when they have overpassed the Alps of Highgate, and traced to its sources the Nile of the New River—then, and not till then, can it properly be permitted to them to despise Pope; who had, if not in Wales, been near it, when he described so beautifully the ‘artificial’ works of the Benefactor of Nature and mankind, the ‘Man of Ross,’ whose picture, still suspended in the parlour of the inn, I have so often contemplated with reverence for his memory, and admiration of the poet, without whom even his own still existing good works could hardly have preserved his honest renown. * * * * *

“If they had said nothing of Pope, they might have remained ‘alone with their glory’ for aught I should have said or thought about them or their nonsense. But if they interfere with the little ‘Nightingale’ of Twickenham, they may find others who will bear it—I won’t. Neither time, nor distance, nor grief, nor age, can ever diminish my veneration for him, who is the great moral poet of all times, of all climes, of all feelings, and of all stages of existence. The delight of my boyhood, the study of my manhood, perhaps (if allowed to me to attain
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 477
it) he may be the consolation of my age. His poetry is the Book of Life. Without canting, and yet without neglecting, religion, he has assembled all that a good and great man can gather together of moral wisdom clothed in consummate beauty.
Sir William Temple observes, ‘That of all the members of mankind that live within the compass of a thousand years, for one man that is born capable of making a great poet, there may be a thousand born capable of making as great generals and ministers of state as any in story.’ Here is a statesman’s opinion of poetry: it is honourable to him and to the art. Such a ‘poet of a thousand years’ was Pope. A thousand years will roll away before such another can be hoped for in our literature. But it can want them—he himself is a literature.

“One word upon his so brutally abused translation of Homer. ‘Dr. Clarke, whose critical exactness is well known, has not been able to point out above three or four mistakes in the sense through the whole Iliad. The real faults of the translation are of a different kind.’ So says Warton, himself a scholar. It appears by this, then, that he avoided the chief fault of a translator. As to its other faults, they consist in his having made a beautiful English poem of a sublime Greek one. It will always hold. Cowper and all the rest of the blank pretenders may do their best and their worst: they will never wrench Pope from the hands of a single reader of sense and feeling.

“The grand distinction of the under forms of the new school of poets is their vulgarity. By this I do not mean that they are coarse, but ‘shabby-genteel,’ as it is termed. A man may be coarse and yet not vulgar, and the reverse. Burns is often coarse, but never vulgar. Chatterton is never vulgar, nor Wordsworth, nor the higher of the Lake school, though they treat of low life in all its branches. It is in their finery that the new under school are most vulgar, and they may be known by this at once; as what we called at Harrow ‘a Sunday blood’ might be easily distinguished from a gentleman, although his clothes might be the better cut, and his boots the best blackened, of the two;—probably because he made the one or cleaned the other with his own hands.

“In the present case, I speak of writing, not of persons. Of the latter, I know nothing; of the former, I judge as it is found. **
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** They may be honourable and gentlemanly men, for what I know, but the latter quality is studiously excluded from their publications. They remind me of Mr. Smith and the Miss Broughtons at the Hampstead Assembly, in ‘
Evelina.’ In these things (in private life, at least), I pretend to some small experience; because, in the course of my youth, I have seen a little of all sorts of society, from the Christian prince and the Mussulman sultan and pacha, and the higher ranks of their countries, down to the London boxer, the ‘flash and the swell,’ the Spanish muleteer, the wandering Turkish dervise, the Scotch highlander, and the Albanian robber;—to say nothing of the curious varieties of Italian social life. Far be it from me to presume that there are now, or can be, such a thing as an aristocracy of poets; but there is a nobility of thought and of style, open to all stations, and derived partly from talent, and partly from education,—which is to be found in Shakspeare, and Pope, and Burns, no less than in Dante and Alfieri, but which is nowhere to be perceived in the mock birds and bards of Mr. Hunt’s little chorus. If I were asked to define what this gentlemanliness is, I should say that it is only to be defined by examples—of those who have it, and those who have it not. In life, I should say that most military men have it, and few naval; that several men of rank have it, and few lawyers; that it is more frequent among authors than divines (when they are not pedants); that fencing-masters have more of it than dancing-masters, and singers than players; and that (if it be not an Irishism to say so) it is far more generally diffused among women than among men. In poetry, as well as writing in general, it will never make entirely a poet or a poem; but neither poet nor poem will ever be good for any thing without it. It is the salt of society, and the seasoning of composition. Vulgarity is far worse than downright blackguardism; for the latter comprehends wit, humour, and strong sense at times; while the former is a sad abortive attempt at all things, ‘signifying nothing.’ It does not depend upon low themes, or even low language, for Fielding revels in both;—but is he ever vulgar? No. You see the man of education, the gentleman, and the scholar, sporting with his subject,—its master, not its slave. Your vulgar writer is always most vulgar, the higher his subject; as the man who showed the menagerie at Pidcock’s was wont to say,
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 479
‘This, gentlemen, is the Eagle of the Sun, from Archangel in Russia: the otterer it is, the igherer he flies.’”

In a note on a passage relative to Pope’s lines upon Lady Mary W. Montague, he says—

“I think that I could show, if necessary, that Lady Mary W. Montague was also greatly to blame in that quarrel, not for having rejected, but for having encouraged him; but I would rather decline the task—though she should have remembered her own line, ‘He comes too near, that comes to be denied.’ I admire her so much—her beauty, her talents—that I should do this reluctantly. I, besides, am so attached to the very name of Mary, that as Johnson once said, ‘If you called a dog Harvey, I should love him;’ so, if you were to call a female of the same species ‘Mary,’ I should love it better, than others (biped or quadruped) of the same sex with a different appellation. She was an extraordinary woman: she could translate Epictetus, and yet write a song worthy of Aristippus. The lines,
‘And when the long hours of the public are past,
And we meet, with champaigne and a chicken, at last,
May every fond pleasure that moment endear!
Be banish’d afar both discretion and fear!
Forgetting or scorning the airs of the crowd,
He may cease to be formal, and I to be proud,
Till,’ &c. &c.
Mr. Bowles!—what say you to such a supper with such a woman? and her own description too? Is not her ‘champaigne and chicken’ worth a forest or two? Is it not poetry? It appears to me that this stanza contains the ‘purée’ of the whole philosophy of Epicurus:—I mean the practical philosophy of his school, not the precepts of the master; for I have been too long at the university not to know that the philosopher was himself a moderate man. But after all, would not some of us have been as great fools as Pope? For my part, I wonder that, with his quick feelings, her coquetry, and his disappointment, he did no more,—instead of writing some lines, which are to be condemned if false, and regretted if true.”

480 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“Ravenna, May 11th, 1821.

“If I had but known your notion about Switzerland before, I should have adopted it at once. As it is, I shall let the child remain in her convent, where she seems healthy and happy, for the present; but I shall feel much obliged if you will inquire, when you are in the cantons, about the usual and better modes of education there for females, and let me know the result of your opinions. It is some consolation that both Mr. and Mrs. Shelley have written to approve entirely my placing the child with the nuns for the present. I can refer to my whole conduct, as having neither spared care, kindness, nor expense, since the child was sent to me. The people may say what they please, I must content myself with not deserving (in this instance) that they should speak ill.

“The place is a country town, in a good air, where there is a large establishment for education, and many children, some of considerable rank, placed in it. As a country town, it is less liable to objections of every kind. It has always appeared to me, that the moral defect in Italy does not proceed from a conventual education,—because, to my certain knowledge, they come out of their convents innocent even to ignorance of moral evil,—but to the state of society into which they are directly plunged on coming out of it. It is like educating an infant on a mountain-top, and then taking him to the sea and throwing him into it and desiring him to swim. The evil, however, though still too general, is partly wearing away, as the women are more permitted to marry from attachment: this is, I believe, the case also in France. And, after all, what is the higher society of England? According to my own experience, and to all that I have seen and heard (and I have lived there in the very highest and what is called the best), no way of life can be more corrupt. In Italy, however, it is, or rather was, more systematized; but now, they themselves are ashamed of regular Serventism. In England, the only homage which they pay to virtue is hypocrisy. I speak of course of the tone of high life,—the middle ranks may be very virtuous.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 481

“I have not got any copy (nor have yet had) of the letter on Bowles; of course I should be delighted to send it to you. How is Mrs. H.? well again, I hope. Let me know when you set out. I regret that I cannot meet you in the Bernese Alps this summer, as I once hoped and intended. With my best respects to madam,

“I am ever, &c.

“P.S. I gave to a musicianer a letter for you some time ago—has he presented himself? Perhaps you could introduce him to the Ingrams and other dilettanti. He is simple and unassuming—two strange things in his profession—and he fiddles like Orpheus himself or Amphion ’tis a pity that he can’t make Venice dance away from the brutal tyrant who tramples upon it.”

“May 14th, 1821.

“A Milan paper states that the play has been represented and universally condemned. As remonstrance has been vain, complaint would be useless. I presume, however, for your own sake (if not for mine), that you and my other friends will have at least published my different protests against its being brought upon the stage at all; and have shown that Elliston (in spite of the writer) forced it upon the theatre. It would be nonsense to say that this has not vexed me a good deal, but I am not dejected, and I shall not take the usual resource of blaming the public (which was in the right), or my friends for not preventing—what they could not help, nor I neither—a forced representation by a speculating manager. It is a pity, that you did not show them its unfitness for the stage before the play was published, and exact a promise from the managers not to act it. In case of their refusal, we would not have published it at all. But this is too late.


“P.S. I enclose Mr. Bowles’s letters; thank him in my name for their candour and kindness.—Also a letter for Hodgson, which pray forward. The Milan paper states that I ‘brought forward the play!!!
482 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
This is pleasanter still. But don’t let yourself be worried about it; and if (as is likely) the folly of
Elliston checks the sale, I am ready to make any deduction, or the entire cancel of your agreement.

“You will of course not publish my defence of Gilchrist, as, after Bowles’s good humour upon the subject, it would be too savage.

“Let me hear from you the particulars; for, as yet I have only the simple fact.

“If you knew what I have had to go through here, on account of the failure of these rascally Neapolitans, you would be amused: but it is now apparently over. They seemed disposed to throw the whole project and plans of these parts upon me chiefly.”

“May 14th, 1821.

“If any part of the letter to Bowles has (unintentionally, as far as I remember the contents) vexed you, you are fully avenged; for I see by an Italian paper that, notwithstanding all my remonstrances through all my friends (and yourself among the rest), the managers persisted in attempting the tragedy, and that it has been ‘unanimously hissed!!’ This is the consolatory phrase of the Milan paper (which detests me cordially and abuses me, on all occasions, as a Liberal), with the addition, that I ‘brought the play out’ of my own good will.

“All this is vexatious enough, and seems a sort of dramatic Calvinism—predestined damnation, without a sinner’s own fault. I took all the pains poor mortal could to prevent this inevitable catastrophe—partly by appeals of all kinds up to the Lord Chamberlain, and partly to the fellows themselves. But, as remonstrance was vain, complaint is useless. I do not understand it—for Murray’s letter of the 24th, and all his preceding ones, gave me the strongest hopes that there would be no representation. As yet, I know nothing but the fact, which I presume to be true, as the date is Paris, and the 30th. They must have been in a hell of a hurry for this damnation, since I did not even know that it was published; and, without its being first published, the histrions could not
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 483
have got hold of it. Any one might have seen, at a glance, that it was utterly impracticable for the stage; and this little accident will by no means enhance its merit in the closet.

“Well, patience is a virtue, and, I suppose, practice will make it perfect. Since last year (spring, that is) I have lost a lawsuit, of great importance, on Rochdale collieries—have occasioned a divorce—have had my poesy disparaged by Murray and the critics—my fortune refused to be placed on an advantageous settlement (in Ireland) by the trustees—my life threatened last month (they put about a paper here to excite an attempt at my assassination, on account of politics, and a notion which the priests disseminated that I was in a league against the Germans)—and, finally, my mother-in-law recovered last fortnight, and my play was damned last week! These are like ‘the eight-and-twenty misfortunes of Harlequin.’ But they must be borne. If I give in, it shall be after keeping up a spirit at least. I should not have cared so much about it, if our southern neighbours had not bungled us all out of freedom for these five hundred years to come.

“Did you know John Keats? They say that he was killed by a review of him in the Quarterly—if he be dead, which I really don’t know. I don’t understand that yielding sensitiveness. What I feel (as at this present) is an immense rage for eight-and-forty hours, and then, as usual—unless this time it should last longer. I must get on horseback to quiet me.

“Yours, &c.

Francis I. wrote, after the battle of Pavia, ‘All is lost except our honour.’ A hissed author may reverse it—‘Nothing is lost, except our honour.’ But the horses are waiting, and the paper full. I wrote last week to you.”

“Ravenna, May 19th, 1821.

“By the papers of Thursday, and two letters of Mr. Kinnaird, I perceive that the Italian gazette had lied most Italically, and that the
484 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
drama had not been hissed, and that my friends had interfered to prevent the representation. So it seems they continue to act it, in spite of us all: for this we must ‘trouble them at ’size.’ Let it by all means be brought to a plea: I am determined to try the right, and will meet the expenses. The reason of the Lombard lie was that the Austrians—who keep up an Inquisition throughout Italy, and a list of names of all who think or speak of any thing but in favour of their despotism—have for five years past abused me in every form in the Gazette of Milan, &c. I wrote to you a week ago on the subject.

“Now I should be glad to know what compensation Mr. Elliston would make me, not only for dragging my writings on the stage in five days, but for being the cause that I was kept for four days (from Sunday to Thursday morning, the only post-days) in the belief that the tragedy had been acted and ‘unanimously hissed;’ and this with the addition that I ‘had brought it upon the stage,’ and consequently that none of my friends had attended to my request to the contrary. Suppose that I had burst a blood-vessel, like John Keats, or blown my brains out in a fit of rage,—neither of which would have been unlikely a few years ago. At present I am, luckily, calmer than I used to be, and yet I would not pass those four days over again for—I know not what*.

* The account, given by Madame Guiccioli, of his anxiety on this occasion fully corroborates his own:—“His quiet was, in spite of himself; often disturbed by public events, and by the attacks which, principally in his character of author, the journals levelled at him. In vain did he protest that he was indifferent to these attacks. The impression was, it is true, but momentary, and he, from a feeling of noble pride, but too much disdained to reply to his detractors. But, however brief his annoyance was, it was sufficiently acute to occasion him much pain, and to afflict those who loved him. Every occurrence relative to the bringing Marino Faliero on the stage caused him excessive inquietude. On the occasion of an article in the Milan Gazette, in which mention was made of this affair, he wrote to me in the following manner:—‘You will see here confirmation of what I told you the other day! I am sacrificed in every way, without knowing the why or the wherefore. The tragedy in question is not (nor ever was) written for, or adapted to, the stage; nevertheless, the plan is not romantic; it is rather regular than otherwise;—in point of unity of time, indeed, perfectly regular, and failing but slightly in unity of place. You well know whether it was ever my intention to have it acted, since it was written at your side, and at a period assuredly rather more tragical to me as a man than as an author; for you were in affliction and peril. In the mean time, I learn from your Gazette that a cabal and party has been formed, while I myself have never taken the slightest step in the business. It is said that the author read it aloud!!!—here, probably, at Ravenna?

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 485

“I wrote to you to keep up your spirits, for reproach is useless always, and irritating—but my feelings were very much hurt, to be dragged like a gladiator to the fate of a gladiator by that ‘retiarius,’ Mr. Elliston. As to his defence and offers of compensation, what is all this to the purpose? It is like Louis the XIVth. who insisted upon buying at any price Algernon Sydney’s horse, and, on his refusal, on taking it by force, Sydney shot his horse. I could not shoot my tragedy, but I would have flung it into the fire rather than have had it represented.

“I have now written nearly three acts of another (intending to complete it in five), and am more anxious than ever to be preserved from such a breach of all literary courtesy and gentlemanly consideration.

“If we succeed, well; if not, previous to any future publication we will request a promise not to be acted, which I would even pay for (as money is their object), or I will not publish—which, however, you will probably not much regret.

“The Chancellor has behaved nobly. You have also conducted yourself in the most satisfactory manner; and I have no fault to find with any body but the stage-players, and their proprietor. I was always so civil to Elliston personally that he ought to have been the last to attempt to injure me.

“There is a most rattling thunder-storm pelting away at this present

—and to whom? perhaps to Fletcher!!!—that illustrious literary character, &c. &c.’”—“Ma però la sua tranquillità era suo malgrado sovente alterata dalle publiche vicende, e dagli attachi che spesso si direggevano a lui nei giornali come ad autore principalmente. Era invano che egli protestava indifferenza per codesti attachi. L’impressione non era é vero che momentanea, e purtroppo per una nobile fierezza sdegrava sempre di rispondere ai suoi dettratori. Ma per quanto fosse breve quella impressione era però assai forte per farlo molto soffrire e per affliggere quelli che lo amavano. Tuttociò che ebbe luogo per la rappresentazione del suo Marino Faliero lo inquietò pure moltissimo e dietro ad un articolo di una Gazetta di Milano in cui si parlava di quell’ affare egli mi scrisse così—‘Ecco la verità di ciò che io vi dissi pochi giorni fa, come vengo sacrificato in tutte le maniere senza sapere il perché e il come. La tragedia di cui si parla non è (e non era mai) nè scritta nè adattata al teatro; ma non è però romantico il disegno, è piuttosto regolure—regolarissimo per l’unità del tempo, e mencando poco a quella del sito. Voi sapete bene se io aveva intenzione di farla rappresentare, poicheè era scritta al vostro fianco e nei momenti per certo più tragici per me come uomo che come autore,—perchè voi eravate in affanno ed in pericolo. Intanto sento dalla vostra Gazetta che sia nata una cabala, un partito, e senza ch’io vi abbia presa la minima parte. Si dice che l’autore ne fece la lettura!!!—qui forse? a Ravenna?—ed a chi? forse a Fletcher!!!—quel illustre litterato, &c. &c.’”

486 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
writing; so that I write neither by day, nor by candle, nor torchlight, but by lightning light: the flashes are as brilliant as the most gaseous glow of the gas-light company. My chimney-board has just been thrown down by a gust of wind: I thought that it was the ‘Bold Thunder’ and ‘Brisk Lightning’ in person.—Three of us would be too many. There it goes—flash again! but
‘I tax not you, ye elements, with unkindness;
I never gave ye franks, nor call’d upon you:’
as I have done by and upon Mr. Elliston.

“Why do you not write? You should at least send me a line of particulars: I know nothing yet but by Galignani and the Honourable Douglas.

“Well, and how does our Pope controversy go on? and the pamphlet? It is impossible to write any news: the Austrian scoundrels rummage all letters.

“P.S. I could have sent you a good deal of gossip and some real information, were it not that all letters pass through the Barbarians’ inspection, and I have no wish to inform them of any thing but my utter abhorrence of them and theirs. They have only conquered by treachery, however.”

“Ravenna, May 20th, 1821.

“Since I wrote to you last week I have received English letters and papers, by which I perceive that what I took for an Italian truth is, after all, a French lie of the Gazette de France. It contains two ultra-falsehoods in as many lines. In the first place, Lord B. did not bring forward his play, but opposed the same; and, secondly, it was not condemned, but is continued to be acted, in despite of publisher, author, Lord Chancellor, and (for aught I know to the contrary) of audience, up to the first of May, at least—the latest date of my letters. You will oblige me, then, by causing Mr. Gazette of France to contradict himself,
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 487
which, I suppose, he is used to. I never answer a foreign criticism; but this is a mere matter of fact, and not of opinions. I presume that you have English and French interest enough to do this for me—though, to be sure, as it is nothing but the truth which we wish to state, the insertion may be more difficult.

“As I have written to you often lately at some length, I won’t bore you further now, than by begging you to comply with my request; and I presume the ‘esprit du corps’ (is it ‘du’ or ‘de?’ for this is more than I know) will sufficiently urge you, as one of ‘ours,’ to set this affair in its real aspect. Believe me always yours ever and. most affectionately,

“Ravenna, May 25th, 1821.

“I am very much pleased with what you say of Switzerland, and will ponder upon it. I would rather she married there than here for that matter. For fortune, I shall make all that I can spare (if I live and she is correct in her conduct), and if I die before she is settled, I have left her by will five thousand pounds, which is a fair provision out of England for a natural child. I shall increase it all I can, if circumstances permit me; but, of course (like all other human things), this is very uncertain.

“You will oblige me very much by interfering to have the facts of the play-acting stated, as these scoundrels appear to be organizing a system of abuse against me, because I am in their ‘list.’ I care nothing for their criticism, but the matter of fact. I have written four acts of another tragedy, so you see they can’t bully me.

“You know, I suppose, that they actually keep a list of all individuals in Italy who dislike them—it must be numerous. Their suspicions and actual alarms, about my conduct and presumed intentions in the late row, were truly ludicrous—though not to bore you, I touched upon them lightly. They believed, and still believe here, or affect to believe it, that the whole plan and project of rising was settled by me, and the
488 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
means furnished, &c. &c. All this was more fomented by the barbarian agents, who are numerous here (one of them was stabbed yesterday, by the way, but not dangerously):—and although when the
Commandant was shot here before my door in December, I took him into my house, where he had every assistance, till he died on Fletcher’s bed; and although not one of them dared to receive him into their houses but myself, they leaving him to perish in the night in the streets, they put up a paper about three months ago, denouncing me as the Chief of the Liberals, and stirring up persons to assassinate me. But this shall never silence nor bully my opinions. All this came from the German Barbarians.”

“Ravenna, May 25th, 1821.

“Since I wrote the enclosed a week ago, and for some weeks before, I have not had a line from you: now, I should be glad to know upon what principle of common or uncommon feeling, you leave me without any information but what I derive from garbled gazettes in English, and abusive ones in Italian (the Germans hating me, as a coal-heaver), while all this kick-up has been going on about the play? You shabby fellow!!! Were it not for two letters from Douglas Kinnaird, I should have been as ignorant as you are negligent.

“So, I hear Bowles has been abusing Hobhouse? if that’s the case, he has broken the truce, like Morillo’s successor, and I will cut him out, as Cochrane did the Esmeralda.

“Since I wrote the enclosed packet, I have completed (but not copied out) four acts of a new tragedy. When I have finished the fifth, I will copy it out. It is on the subject of ‘Sardanapalus,’ the last king of the Assyrians. The words Queen and Pavilion occur, but it is not an allusion to his Britannic Majesty, as you may tremulously imagine. This you will one day see (if I finish it), as I have made Sardanapalus brave (though voluptuous, as history represents him), and also as amiable as my poor
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 489
powers could render him:—so that it could neither be truth nor satire on any living monarch. I have strictly preserved all the unities hitherto, and mean to continue them in the fifth, if possible; but not for the stage. Yours, in haste and hatred, you shabby correspondent!

“Ravenna, May 28th, 1821.

“Since my last of the 26th or 25th, I have dashed off my fifth act of the tragedy called ‘Sardanapalus.’ But now comes the copying over, which may prove heavy work—heavy to the writer as to the reader. I have written to you at least six times sans answer, which proves you to be a—bookseller. I pray you to send me a copy of Mr. Wrangham’s reformation of ‘Langhorne’s Plutarch.’ I have the Greek, which is somewhat small of print, and the Italian, which is too heavy in style, and as false as a Neapolitan patriot proclamation. I pray you also to send me a Life, published some years ago, of the Magician Apollonius of Tyana. It is in English, and I think edited or written by what Martin Marprelate calls ‘a bouncing priest.’ I shall trouble you no farther with this sheet than with the postage. “Yours, &c.


“P.S. Since I wrote this, I determined to enclose it (as a half sheet) to Mr. Kinnaird, who will have the goodness to forward it. Besides, it saves sealing-wax.”

Ravenna, May 30th, 1821.

“You say you have written often: I have only received yours of the eleventh, which is very short. By this post, in five packets, I send you the tragedy of Sardanapalus, which is written in a rough hand:
490 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Mrs. Leigh can help you to decipher it. You will please t’ acknowledge it by return of post. You will remark that the unities are all strictly observed. The scene passes in the same hall always: the time, a summer’s night, about nine hours, or less, though it begins before sunset and ends after sunrise. In the third act, when Sardanapalus calls for a mirror to look at himself in his armour, recollect to quote the Latin passage from Juvenal upon Otho (a similar character, who did the same thing); Gifford will help you to it. The trait is perhaps too familiar, but it is historical (of Otho, at least), and natural in an effeminate character.”

“Ravenna, May 31st, 1821.

“I enclose you another letter, which will only confirm what I have said to you.

“About Allegra—I will take some decisive step in the course of the year; at present, she is so happy where she is, that perhaps she had better have her alphabet imparted in her convent.

“What you say of the Dante is the first I have heard of it—all seeming to be merged in the row about the tragedy. Continue it!—Alas! what could Dante himself now prophesy about Italy? I am glad you like it, however, but doubt that you will be singular in your opinion. My new tragedy is completed.

“The B * * is right,—I ought to have mentioned her humour and amiability, but I thought at her sixty, beauty would be most agreeable or least likely. However, it shall be rectified in a new edition; and if any of the parties have either looks or qualities which they wish to be noticed, let me have a minute of them. I have no private nor personal dislike to Venice, rather the contrary, but I merely speak of what is the subject of all remarks and all writers upon her present state. Let me hear from you before you start. Believe me,

“Ever, &c.

“P.S. Did you receive two letters of Douglas Kinnaird’s in an
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 491
endorse from me? Remember me to
Mengaldo, Soranzo, and all who care that I should remember them. The letter alluded to in the enclosed, ‘to the Cardinal,’ was in answer to some queries of the government, about a poor devil of a Neapolitan, arrested at Sinigaglia on suspicion, who came to beg of me here; being without breeches, and consequently without pockets for halfpence, I relieved and forwarded him to his country, and they arrested him at Pesaro on suspicion, and have since interrogated me (civilly and politely, however), about him. I sent them the poor man’s petition, and such information as I had about him, which, I trust, will get him out again, that is to say, if they give him a fair hearing.

“I am content with the article. Pray, did you receive, some posts ago, Moore’s lines, which I enclosed to you, written at Paris?”

“Ravenna, June 4th, 1821.

You have not written lately, as is the usual custom with literary gentlemen, to console their friends with their observations in cases of magnitude. I do not know whether I sent you my ‘Elegy on the recovery of Lady * *:’—
“Behold the blessings of a lucky lot—
My play is damn’d, and Lady * * not.

“The papers (and perhaps your letters) will have put you in possession of Muster Elliston’s dramatic behaviour. It is to be presumed that the play was fitted for the stage by Mr. Dibdin, who is the tailor upon such occasions, and will have taken measure with his usual accuracy. I hear that it is still continued to be performed—a piece of obstinacy for which it is some consolation to think that the discourteous histrio will be out of pocket.

“You will be surprised to hear that I have finished another tragedy in five acts, observing all the unities strictly. It is called ‘Sardanapalus,’ and was sent by last post to England. It is not for the stage, any more
492 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
than the other was intended for it,—and I shall take better care this time that they don’t get hold on ’t.

“I have also sent, two months ago, a further letter on Bowles, &c.; but he seems to be so taken up with my ‘respect’ (as he calls it) towards him in the former case, that I am not sure that it will be published, being somewhat too full of ‘pastime and prodigality.’ I learn from some private letters of Bowles’s, that you were ‘the gentleman in asterisks.’ Who would have dreamed it? you see what mischief that clergyman has done by printing notes without names. How the deuce was I to suppose that the first four asterisks meant ‘Campbell’ and notPope,’ and that the blank signature meant Thomas Moore. You see

* In their eagerness, like true controversialists, to avail themselves of every passing advantage, and convert even straws into weapons on an emergency, my two friends, during their short warfare, contrived to place me in that sort of embarrassing position, the most provoking feature of which is, that it excites more amusement than sympathy. On the one side, Mr. Bowles chose to cite, as a support to his argument, a short fragment of a note, addressed to him, as he stated, by “a gentleman of the highest literary, &c. &c.,’ and saying, in reference to Mr. Bowles’s former pamphlet, “You have hit the right nail on the head, and * * * * too.” This short scrap was signed with four asterisks; and when, on the appearance of Mr. Bowles’s Letter, I met with it in his pages, not the slightest suspicion ever crossed my mind that I had been myself the writer of it;—my communications with my reverend friend and neighbour having been (for years, I am proud to say) sufficiently frequent to allow of such a hasty compliment to his disputative powers passing from my memory. When Lord Byron took the field against Mr. Bowles’s Letter, this unlucky scrap, so authoritatively brought forward, was, of course, too tempting a mark for his facetiousness to be resisted; more especially as the person mentioned in it, as having suffered from the reverend critic’s vigour, appeared, from the number of asterisks employed in designating him, to have been Pope himself, though, in reality, the name was that of Mr. Bowles’s former antagonist, Mr. Campbell. The noble assailant, it is needless to say, made the most of this vulnerable point; and few readers could have been more diverted than I was with his happy ridicule of “the gentleman in asterisks,” little thinking that I was myself, all the while, this veiled victim,—nor was it till about the time of the receipt of the above letter, that, by some communication on the subject from a friend in England, I was startled into the recollection of my own share in the transaction.

While by one friend I was thus unconsciously, if not innocently, drawn into the scrape, the other was not slow in rendering me the same friendly service;—for, on the appearance of Lord Byron’s answer to Mr. Bowles, I had the mortification of finding that, with a far less pardonable want of reserve, he had all but named me as his authority for an anecdote of his reverend opponent’s early days, which I had, in the course of an after-dinner conversation, told him at Venice, and which,—pleasant in itself, and, whether true or false, harmless,—derived its sole sting from the manner in which the noble disputant triumphantly applied it. Such are the consequences of one’s near and dear friends taking to controversy.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 493
what comes of being familiar with parsons. His answers have not yet reached me, but I understand from
Hobhouse, that he (H.) is attacked in them. If that be the case, Bowles has broken the truce (which he himself proclaimed, by the way), and I must have at him again.

“Did you receive my letters with the two or three concluding sheets of Memoranda?

“There are no news here to interest much. A German spy (boasting himself such) was stabbed last week, but not mortally. The moment I heard that he went about bullying and boasting, it was easy for me, or any one else, to foretel what would occur to him, which I did, and it came to pass in two days after. He has got off; however, for a slight incision.

“A row the other night, about a lady of the place, between her various lovers, occasioned a midnight discharge of pistols, but nobody wounded. Great scandal, however—planted by her lover—to be thrashed by her husband, for inconstancy to her regular Servente, who is coming home post about it, and she herself retired in confusion into the country, although it is the acme of the opera season. All the women furious against her (she herself having been censorious) for being found out. She is a pretty woman—a Countess * * * *—a fine old Visigoth name, or Ostrogoth.

“The Greeks! what think you? They are my old acquaintances—but what to think I know not. Let us hope, howsomever.

“Ravenna, June 22d, 1821.

Your dwarf of a letter came yesterday. That is right;—keep to your ‘magnum opus’—magnoperate away. Now, if we were but together a little to combine our ‘Journal of Trevoux!’ But it is useless to sigh, and yet very natural,—for I think you and I draw better together, in the social line, than any two other living authors.

“I forgot to ask you, if you had seen your own panegyric in the
494 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
correspondence of
Mrs. Waterhouse and Colonel Berkeley? To be sure, their moral is not quite exact; but your passion is fully effective; and all poetry of the Asiatic kind—I mean Asiatic, as the Romans called ‘Asiatic oratory,’ and not because the scenery is Oriental—must be tried by that test only. I am not quite sure that I shall allow the Miss Byrons (legitimate or illegitimate) to read Lalla Rookh—in the first place, on account of this said passion; and, in the second, that they mayn’t discover that there was a better poet than papa.

“You say nothing of politics—but, alas! what can be said?
The world is a bundle of hay,
Mankind are the asses who pull,
Each tugs it a different way,—
And the greatest of all is John Bull!

“How do you call your new project? I have sent to Murray a new tragedy, ycleped ‘Sardanapalus,’ writ according to Aristotle—all, save the chorus—I could not reconcile me to that. I have begun another, and am in the second act;—so you see I saunter on as usual.

“Bowles’s answers have reached me; but I can’t go on disputing for ever,—particularly in a polite manner. I suppose he will take being silent for silenced. He has been so civil that I can’t find it in my liver to be facetious with him,—else I had a savage joke or two at his service.

* * * * *

“I can’t send you the little journal, because it is in boards, and I can’t trust it per post. Don’t suppose it is any thing particular; but it will show the intentions of the natives at that time—and one or two other things, chiefly personal, like the former one.

“So, Longman don’t bite.—It was my wish to have made that work of use. Could you not raise a sum upon it (however small), reserving the power of redeeming it on repayment?

“Are you in Paris, or a villaging? If you are in the city, you will never resist the Anglo-invasion you speak of. I do not see an Englishman in half a year; and, when I do I turn my horse’s head the other way; The fact, which you will find in the last note to the Doge, has given me a good excuse for quite dropping the least connexion with travellers.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 495

“I do not recollect the speech you speak of, but suspect it is not the Doge’s but one of Israel Bertuccio to Calendaro. I hope you think that Elliston behaved shamefully—it is my only consolation. I made the Milanese fellows contradict their lie, which they did with the grace of people used to it.

“Yours, &c.
“Ravenna, July 5th, 1921.

“How could you suppose that I ever would allow any thing that could be said on your account to weigh with me? I only regret that Bowles had not said that you were the writer of that note until afterwards, when out he comes with it, in a private letter to Murray, which Murray sends to me. D—n the controversy!

“D—n Twizzle,
D—n the bell,
And d—n the fool who rung it—Well!
From all such plagues I’ll quickly be deliver’d.

“I have had a friend of your Mr. Irving’s—a very pretty lad—a Mr. Coolidge, of Boston—only somewhat too full of poesy and ‘entusymusy.’ I was very civil to him during his few hours’ stay, and talked with him much of Irving, whose writings are my delight. But I suspect that he did not take quite so much to me, from his having expected to meet a misanthropical gentleman, in wolf-skin breeches, and answering in fierce monosyllables, instead of a man of this world. I can never get people to understand that poetry is the expression of excited passion, and that there is no such thing as a life of passion any more than a continuous earthquake, or an eternal fever. Besides, who would ever shave themselves in such a state?

“I have had a curious letter to-day from a girl in England (I never saw her), who says she is given over of a decline, but could not go out of the world without thanking me for the delight which my poesy for
496 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
several years, &c. &c. &c. It is signed simply N. N. A. and has not a word of ‘cant’ or preachment in it upon any opinions. She merely says that she is dying, and that as I had contributed so highly to her existing pleasure, she thought that she might say so, begging me to burn her letter—which, by the way, I can not do, as I look upon such a letter, in such circumstances, as better than a diploma from Gottingen. I once had a letter from Drontheim, in Norway (but not from a dying woman), in verse, on the same score of gratulation. These are the things which make one at times believe oneself a poet. But if I must believe that * * * * *, and such fellows, are poets also, it is better to be out of the corps.

“I am now in the fifth act of ‘Foscari,’ being the third tragedy in twelve months, besides proses; so you perceive that I am not at all idle. And are you, too, busy? I doubt that your life at Paris draws too much upon your time, which is a pity. Can’t you divide your day, so as to combine both? I have had plenty of all sorts of worldly business on my hands last year,—and yet it is not so difficult to give a few hours to the Muses. This sentence is so like * * * * that— “Ever, &c.

“If we were together, I should publish both my plays (periodically) in our joint journal. It should be our plan to publish all our best things in that way.”

In the Journal entitled “Detached Thoughts,” I find the tribute to his genius which he here mentions, as well as some others, thus interestingly dwelt upon.

“As far as fame goes (that is to say, living fame) I have had my share, perhaps—indeed, certainly—more than my deserts.

“Some odd instances have occurred, to my own experience, of the wild and strange places to which a name may penetrate, and where it may impress. Two years ago (almost three, being in August or July, 1819,) I received at Ravenna a letter, in English verse, from Drontheim in Norway, written by a Norwegian, and full of the usual compliments, &c. &c. It is still somewhere amongst my papers. In the same month
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 497
I received an invitation into Holstein from a Mr. Jacobsen (I think) of Hamburgh: also, by the same medium, a translation of Medora’s song in
the Corsair by a Westphalian baroness (not ‘Thunderton-Tronck’), with some original verses of hers (very pretty and Klopstock-ish), and a prose translation annexed to them, on the subject of my wife:—as they concerned her more than me, I sent them to her, together with Mr. Jacobsen’s letter. It was odd enough to receive an invitation to pass the summer in Holstein while in Italy, from people I never knew. The letter was addressed to Venice. Mr. Jacobsen talked to me of the ‘wild roses growing in the Holstein summer.’ Why then did the Cimbri and Teutones emigrate?

“What a strange thing is life and man! Were I to present myself at the door of the house where my daughter now is, the door would be shut in my face—unless (as is not impossible) I knocked down the porter; and if I had gone in that year (and perhaps now) to Drontheim (the furthest town in Norway), or into Holstein, I should have been received with open arms into the mansion of strangers and foreigners attached to me by no tie but by that of mind and rumour.

“As far as fame goes, I have had my share: it has indeed been leavened by other human contingencies, and this in a greater degree than has occurred to most literary men of a decent rank in life; but, on the whole, I take it that such equipoise is the condition of humanity.”

Of the visit, too, of the American gentleman, he thus speaks in the same Journal.

“A young American, named Coolidge, called on me not many months ago. He was intelligent, very handsome, and not more than twenty years old, according to appearances; a little romantic, but that sits well upon youth, and mighty fond of poesy, as may be suspected from his approaching me in my cavern. He brought me a message from an old servant of my family (Joe Murray) and told me that he (Mr. Coolidge) had obtained a copy of my bust from Thorwaldsen at Rome, to send to America. I confess I was more flattered by this young enthusiasm of a solitary Trans-Atlantic traveller, than if they had decreed me a statue in the Paris Pantheon (I have seen emperors and demagogues cast down from their pedestals even in my own time, and
498 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Grattan’s name razed from the street, called after him in Dublin); I say that I was more flattered by it, because it was single, unpolitical, and was without motive or ostentation,—the pure and warm feeling of a boy for the poet he admired. It must have been expensive, though;—I would not pay the price of a Thorwaldsen bust for any human head and shoulders, except Napoleon’s, or my children’s, or some ‘absurd woman-kinds,’ as Monkbarns calls them,—or my sister’s. If asked why, then, I sate for my own?—Answer, that it was at the particular request of J. C. Hobhouse, Esq., and for no one else. A picture is a different matter;—every body sits for their picture;—but a bust looks like putting up pretensions to permanency, and smacks something of a hankering for public fame rather than private remembrance.

“Whenever an American requests to see me (which is not unfrequently) I comply, firstly, because I respect a people who acquired their freedom by their firmness without excess; and, secondly, because these Trans-Atlantic visits, ‘few and far between,’ make me feel as if talking with posterity from the other side of the Styx. In a century or two the new English and Spanish Atlantides will be masters of the old countries, in all probability, as Greece and Europe overcame their mother Asia in the older or earlier ages, as they are called.”

“Ravenna, July 6th, 1821.

“In agreement with a wish expressed by Mr. Hobhouse, it is my determination to omit the stanza upon the horse of Semiramis in the Fifth Canto of Don Juan. I mention this, in case you are, or intend to be, the publisher of the remaining Cantos.

“At the particular request of the Contessa G. I have promised not to continue Don Juan. You will therefore look upon these three Cantos as the last of the poem. She had read the two first in the French translation, and never ceased beseeching me to write no more of it. The reason of this is not at first obvious to a superficial observer of foreign manners; but it arises from the wish of all women to exalt the sentiment
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of the passions, and to keep up the illusion which is their empire. Now Don Juan strips off this illusion, and laughs at that and most other things. I never knew a woman who did not protect
Rousseau, nor one who did not dislike De Grammont, Gil Blas, and all the comedy, of the passions, when brought out naturally. But ‘king’s blood must keep word,’ as Serjeant Bothwell says.”

“July 14th, 1821.

“I trust that Sardanapalus will not be mistaken for a political play, which was so far from my intention, that I thought of nothing but Asiatic history. The Venetian play, too, is rigidly historical. My object has been to dramatise, like the Greeks (a modest phrase), striking passages of history, as they did of history and mythology. You will find all this very unlike Shakspeare; and so much the better in one sense, for I look upon him to be the worst of models*, though the most extraordinary of writers. It has been my object to be as simple and severe as Alfieri, and I have broken down the poetry as nearly as I could to common language. The hardship is, that in these times one can neither speak of kings or queens without suspicion of politics or personalities. I intended neither.

“I am not very well. and I write in the midst of unpleasant scenes here: they have, without trial or process, banished several of the first inhabitants of the cities—here and all around the Roman states—amongst them many of my personal friends, so that every thing is in confusion

* In venturing this judgment upon Shakspeare, Lord Byron but followed In the footsteps of his great idol Pope. “It was mighty simple in Rowe,” says this poet, “to write a play now professedly in Shakspeare’s style, that is, professedly in the style of a bed age.”—Spence, sect. 4. 1734-36. Of Milton, too, Pope seems to have held pretty nearly the same opinion as that professed by Lord Byron in some of these letters. See, in Spence, sect. 5. 1737-39, a passage on which his editor remarks—“Perhaps Pope did not relish Shakspeare more than he seems to have done Milton.”

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and grief: it is a kind of thing which cannot be described without an equal pain as in beholding it.

“You are very niggardly in your letters.

“Yours truly,
“Ravenna, July 22d, 1821.

The printer has done wonders;—he has read what I cannot—my own handwriting.

“I oppose the ‘delay till winter:’ I am particularly anxious to print while the winter theatres are closed, to gain time, in case they try their former piece of politeness. Any loss shall be considered in our contract, whether occasioned by the season or other causes; but print away, and publish.

“I think they must own that I have more styles than one. ‘Sardanapalus’ is, however, almost a comic character: but, for that matter, so is Richard the Third. Mind the unities, which are my great object of research. I am glad that Gifford likes it: as for ‘the million,’ you see I have carefully consulted any thing but the taste of the day for extravagant ‘coups de theatre.’ Any probable loss, as I said before, will be allowed for in our accompts. The reviews (except one or two, Blackwood’s, for instance) are cold enough; but never mind those fellows: I shall send them to the right about, if I take it into my head. I always found the English baser in some things than any other nation. You stare, but it’s true as to gratitude,—perhaps, because they are prouder, and proud people hate obligations.

“The tyranny of the Government here is breaking out. They have exiled about a thousand people of the best families all over the Roman states. As many of my friends are amongst them, I think of moving too, but not till I have had your answers. Continue your address to me here, as usual, and quickly. What you will not be sorry
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 501
to hear is, that the poor of the place, hearing that I meant to go, got together a petition to the
Cardinal to request that he would request me to remain. I only heard of it a day or two ago, and it is no dishonour to them nor to me; but it will have displeased the higher powers, who look upon me as a Chief of the Coalheavers. They arrested a servant of mine for a street quarrel with an officer (they drew upon one another knives and pistols), but as the officer was out of uniform, and in the wrong besides, on my protesting stoutly, he was released. I was not present at the affray, which happened by night near my stables. My man (an Italian), a very stout, and not over-patient personage, would have taken a fatal revenge afterwards, if I had not prevented him. As it was, he drew his stiletto, and, but for passengers, would have carbonadoed the captain, who, I understand, made but a poor figure in the quarrel, except by beginning it. He applied to me, and I offered him any satisfaction, either by turning away the man, or otherwise, because he had drawn a knife. He answered that a reproof would be sufficient. I reproved him; and yet, after this, the shabby dog complained to the Government,—after being quite satisfied, as he said. This roused me, and I gave them a remonstrance which had some effect. The captain has been reprimanded, the servant released, and the business at present rests there.”

Among the victims of the “black sentence and proscription” by which the rulers of Italy were now, as appears from the above letters, avenging their late alarm upon all who had even in the remotest degree contributed to it, the two Gambas were, of course, as suspected Chiefs of the Carbonari of Romagna, included. About the middle of July, Madame Guiccioli, in a state of despair, wrote to inform Lord Byron that her father, in whose palazzo she was at that time residing, had just been ordered to quit Ravenna within twenty-four hours, and that it was the intention of her brother to depart the following morning. The young Count, however, was not permitted to remain even so long, being arrested that very night, and conveyed by soldiers to the frontier; and the Contessa herself, in but a few days after, found that she also
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must join the crowd of exiles. The prospect of being again separated from her noble lover seems to have rendered banishment little less fearful, in her eyes, than death. ‘This alone’ she says in a letter to him, ‘was wanting to fill up the measure of my despair. Help me, my love, for I am in a situation most terrible, and without you, I can resolve upon nothing. * * has just been with me, having been sent by * * to tell me that I must depart from Ravenna before next Tuesday, as my
husband has had recourse to Rome, for the purpose of either forcing me to return to him, or else putting me in a convent; and the answer from thence is expected in a few days. I must not speak of this to any one,—I must escape by night; for, if my project should be discovered, it will be impeded, and my passport (which the goodness of Heaven has permitted me, I know not how, to obtain) will be taken from me. Byron! I am in despair!—If I must leave you here without knowing when I shall see you again, if it is your will that I should suffer so cruelly, I am resolved to remain. They may put me in a convent; I shall die,—but—but then you cannot aid me, and I cannot reproach you. I know not what they tell me, for my agitation overwhelms me;—and why? Not because I fear my present danger, but solely, I call Heaven to witness, solely because I must leave you.’

Towards the latter end of July, the writer of this tender and truly feminine letter found herself forced to leave Ravenna,—the home of her youth, as it was, now, of her heart,—uncertain whither to go, or where she should again meet her lover. After lingering for a short time at Bologna, under a faint expectation that the Court of Rome might yet, through some friendly mediation*, be induced to rescind its order against her relatives, she at length gave up all hope, and joined her father and brother at Florence.

It has been already seen, from Lord Byron’s letters, that he had himself become an object of strong suspicion to the Government, and

* Among the persons applied to by Lord Byron for their interest on this occasion was the late Duchess of Devonshire, whose answer, dated from Spa, I find among his papers. With the utmost readiness her Grace undertakes to write to Rome on the subject, and adds, “Believe me also, my Lord, that there is a character of justice, goodness end benevolence in the present Government of Rome, which, if they are convinced of the just claims of the Comte de Gamba and his son, will make them grant their request.”

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it was, indeed, chiefly in their desire to rid themselves of his presence, that the steps taken against the Gamba family had originated;—the constant benevolence which he exercised towards the poor of Ravenna being likely, it was feared, to render him dangerously popular among a people unused to charity on so enlarged a scale. “One of the principal causes,” says Madame Guiccioli, “of the exile of my relatives, was in reality the idea that Lord Byron would share the banishment of his friends. Already the Government were averse to Lord Byron’s residence at Ravenna; knowing his opinions, fearing his influence, and also exaggerating the extent of his means for giving effect to them. They fancied that he provided money for the purchase of arms, &c., and that he contributed pecuniarily to the wants of the Society. The truth is, that, when called upon to exercise his beneficence, he made no inquiries as to the political and religious opinions of those who required his aid. Every unhappy and needy object had an equal share in his benevolence. The Anti-Liberals, however, insisted upon believing that he was the principal support of Liberalism in Romagna, and were desirous of his departure; but, not daring to exact it by any direct measure, they were in hopes of being able indirectly to force him into this step*.”

After stating the particulars of her own hasty departure, the lady proceeds:—“Lord Byron, in the mean time, remained at Ravenna, in a town convulsed by party spirit, where he had certainly, on account of his opinions, many fanatical and perfidious enemies; and my imagination always painted him surrounded by a thousand dangers. It may be conceived, therefore, what that journey must have been to me, and what I suffered at such a distance from him. His letters would have given

* “Una delle principali ragioni per cui si erano esigliati i miei parenti era in eperanza che Lord Byron pure lascierebbe la Romagna quando i suoi amici fossero partiti. Già da qualche tempo la permanenza di Lord Byron in Ravenna era mal gradita dal Governo conoscendosile sue opinione e temendosila sua influenza, ed essaggiandosi anche i suoi mezzi per esercitarla. Si credeva che egli somministrasse danare per provvedere armi, e che provvedesse ai bisogni della Società. La verità era the nello spargare le sue beneficenze egli non s’informava delle opinioni politiche e religiose di quello che aveva bisogno del suo soccorso; ogni misero ed ogni infelice aveva un eguale diviso alla sua generosità. Ma in ogni modo gli Anti-Libarali lo credevano il principale eostegno del Liberalismo della Romagna, e desideravano la sua partenza; ma non osando provocarla in nessun modo diretto speravano di ottenerla indirettamente.”

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me comfort; but two days always elapsed between his writing and my receiving them; and this idea embittered all the solace they would otherwise have afforded me, so that my heart was torn by the most cruel fears. Yet it was necessary for his own sake that he should remain some time longer at Ravenna, in order that it might not be said that he also was banished. Besides, he had conceived a very great affection for the place itself; and was desirous, before he left it of exhausting every means and hope of procuring the recall of my relations from banishment*.”

“Ravenna, July 23d, 1821.

“This country being in a state of proscription, and all my friends exiled or arrested—the whole family of Gamba obliged to go to Florence for the present—the father and son for politics—(and the Guiccioli, because menaced with a convent, as her father is not here), I have determined to remove to Switzerland, and they also. Indeed, my, life here is not supposed to be particularly safe—but that has been the case for this twelvemonth past, and is therefore not the primary consideration.

“I have written by this post to Mr. Hentsch, junior, the banker of Geneva, to provide (if possible) a house for me, and another for Gamba’s family (the father, son, and daughter), on the Jura side of the lake of Geneva, furnished, and with stabling (for me at least) for eight horses. I shall bring Allegra with me. Could you assist me or Hentsch in his

* “Lord Byron restava frattanto a Ravenna in un paese sconvolso dai partiti, e dove aveva certamente dei nemici di opinioni fanatici e perfidi, e la mia immaginazione me lo dipingeva circondato sempre da mille pericoli. Si può dunque pensare cosa dovesse essere qual viaggio per me e cosa io dovessi soffrire nella sua lontananza. La sue lettere avrebbero potuto essermi di conforto; ma quando io le riceveva an già trascorso lo spazio di due giorni dal memento in cui furono scritte, e questo pensiero distruggeva tutto il bene che esse potevano farmi, e la mia anima era lacerata dai più crudeli timori. Frattanto era necessario per la di lui convenienza che egli restasse ancora qualche tempo in Ravenna affinchè non avesse a dirsi che egli pure ne era caigliato; ed oltreciò egli si era sommamente affezianto a qual soggiorno e voleva innansi di partire vedere esausiti tutti i tentativi e tutte le speranze del ritorno dei miei parenti.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 505
researches? The Gambas are at Florence, but have authorized me to treat for them. You know, or do not know, that they are great patriots—and both—but the son in particular—very fine fellows. This I know, for I have seen them lately in very awkward situations—not pecuniary, but personal—and they behaved like heroes, neither yielding nor retracting.

“You have no idea what a state of oppression this country is in—they arrested above a thousand of high and low throughout Romagna—banished some and confined others, without trial, process, or even accusation!! Every body says they would have done the same by me if they dared proceed openly. My motive, however, for remaining, is because every one of my acquaintance, to the amount of hundreds almost, have been exiled.

“Will you do what you can in looking out for a couple of houses furnished, and conferring with Hentsch for us? We care nothing about society, and are only anxious for a temporary and tranquil asylum and individual freedom.

“Believe me, &c.

“P.S. Can you give me an idea of the comparative expenses of Switzerland and Italy? which I have forgotten. I speak merely of those of decent living, horses, &c. and not of luxuries or high living. Do not, however, decide any thing positively till I have your answer, as I can then know how to think upon these topics of transmigration, &c. &c. &c.”

“Ravenna, July 30th, 1821.

“Enclosed is the best account of the Doge Faliero, which was only sent to me from an old MS. the other day. Get it translated, and append it as a note to the next edition. You will perhaps be pleased to see that my conceptions of his character were correct, though I regret not having met with this extract before. You will perceive that he himself said exactly what he is made to say about the Bishop of Treviso. You will see also that ‘he spoke very little, and those only words of rage and
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disdain,’ after his arrest, which is the case in the play, except when he breaks out at the close of Act Fifth. But his speech to the conspirators is better in the MS. than in the play. I wish that I had met with it in time. Do not forget this note, with a translation.

“In a former note to the Juans, speaking of Voltaire, I have quoted his famous ‘Zaire, tu pleures,’ which is an error; it should be ‘Zaire, vous pleurez.’ Recollect this.

“I am so busy here about those poor proscribed exiles, who are scattered about, and with trying to get some of them recalled, that I have hardly time or patience to write a short preface, which will be proper for the two plays. However, I will make it out on receiving the next proofs.

“Yours ever, &c.

“P.S. Please to append the letter about the Hellespont as a note to your next opportunity of the verses on Leander, &c. &c. &c. in Childe Harold. Don’t forget it amidst your multitudinous avocations, which I think of celebrating in a Dithyrambic Ode to Albemarle-street.

“Are you aware that Shelley has written an Elegy on Keats, and accuses the Quarterly of killing him?

‘Who kill’d John Keats?’
‘I,’ says the Quarterly,
So savage and Tartarly;
‘’Twas one of my feats.’
‘Who shot the arrow?
‘The poet-priest Milman,
(So ready to kill man),
Or Southey or Barrow.’

“You know very well that I did not approve of Keats’s poetry, or principles of poetry, or of his abuse of Pope; but, as he is dead, omit all that is said about him in any MSS. of mine, or publication. His Hyperion is a fine monument, and will keep his name. I do not envy the man who wrote the article;—you Review-people have no more right to kill than any other footpads. However, he who would die of an article in a Review would probably have died of something else equally trivial. The same thing nearly happened to Kirke White, who died afterwards of a consumption”

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“Ravenna, August 2d, 1821.

“I had certainly answered your last letter, though but briefly, to the part to which you refer, merely saying, ‘damn the controversy;’ and quoting some verses of George Colman’s, not as allusive to you, but to the disputants. Did you receive this letter? It imports me to know that our letters are not intercepted or mislaid.

“Your Berlin drama* is an honour, unknown since the days of Elkanah Settle, whose ‘Emperor of Morocco’ was represented by the Court ladies, which was, as Johnson says, ‘the last blast of inflammation’ to poor Dryden, who could not bear it, and fell foul of Settle without mercy or moderation, on account of that and a frontispiece, which he dared to put before his play.

“Was not your showing the Memoranda to * * somewhat perilous? Is there not a facetious allusion or two which might as well be reserved for posterity?

“I know S * * well—that is to say, I have met him occasionally at Copet. Is he not also touched lightly in the Memoranda? In a review of Childe Harold, Canto 4th, three years ago, in Blackwood’s Magazine, they quote some stanzas of an elegy of S * *’s on Rome, from which they say that I might have taken some ideas. I give you my honour that I never saw it except in that criticism, which gives, I think, three or four stanzas, sent them (they say) for the nonce by a correspondent—perhaps himself. The fact is easily proved; for I don’t understand German, and there was I believe no translation—at least, it was the first time that I ever heard of, or saw, either translation or original.

“I remember having some talk with S * * about Alfieri, whose merit he denies. He was also wroth about the Edinburgh Review of

* There had been, a short time before, performed at the Court of Berlin a spectacle founded on the Poem of Lalla Rookh, in which the present Emperor of Russia personated Feramorz, and the Empress, Lalla Rookh.

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Goëthe, which was sharp enough, to be sure. He went about saying, too, of the French—‘I meditate a terrible vengeance against the French—I will prove that Moliere is no poet†.’ * * *

“I don’t see why you should talk of ‘declining.’ When I saw you, you looked thinner, and yet younger, than you did when we parted several years before. You may rely upon this as fact. If it were not, I should say nothing, for I would rather not say unpleasant personal things to any one—but, as it was the pleasant truth, I tell it you. If you had led my life, indeed, changing climates and connexions—thinning yourself with fasting and purgatives—besides the wear and tear of the vulture passions, and a very bad temper besides, you might talk in this way—but you! I know no man who looks so well for his years, or who deserves to look better and to be better, in all respects. You are a * * *, and, what is perhaps better for your friends a good fellow. So, don’t talk of decay, but put in for eighty, as you well may.

“I am, at present, occupied principally about these unhappy proscriptions and exiles, which have taken place here on account of politics. It has been a miserable sight to see the general desolation in families. I am doing what I can for them, high and low, by such interest and means as I possess or can bring to bear. There have been thousands of these proscriptions within the last month in the Exarchate, or (to speak modernly) the Legations. Yesterday, too, a man got his back broken, in extricating a dog of mine from under a mill-wheel. The dog was killed, and the man is in the greatest danger. I was not present—it happened before I was up, owing to a stupid boy taking the dog to bathe in a dangerous spot. I must, of course, provide for the poor fellow while he lives, and his family, if he dies. I would gladly have given a much greater sum than that will come to that he had never been hurt. Pray, let me hear from you, and excuse haste and hot weather.

“Yours, &c.
* * * * * *

“You may have probably seen all sorts of attacks upon me in some gazettes in England some months ago. I only saw them, by Murray’s

† This threat has been since acted upon,—the critic in question having, to the great horror of the French literati, pronounced Moliere to be a “farceur.”

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bounty, the other day. They call me ‘Plagiary,’ and what not. I think I now, in my time, have been accused of every thing.

“I have not given you details of little events here; but they have been trying to make me out to be the chief of a conspiracy, and nothing but their want of proofs for an English investigation has stopped them. Had it been a poor native, the suspicion were enough, as it has been for hundreds.

“Why don’t you write on Napoleon? I have no spirits, nor ‘estro’ to do so. His overthrow, from the beginning, was a blow on the head to me. Since that period, we have been the slaves of fools. Excuse this long letter. Ecco a translation literal of a French epigram.
“Egle, beauty and poet, has two little crimes,
She makes her own face, and does not make her rhymes.

“I am going to ride, having been warned not to ride in a particular part of the forest, on account of the ultra-politicians.

“Is there no chance of your return to England, and of our Journal? I would have published the two plays in it—two or three scenes per number—and, indeed, all of mine in it. If you went to England, I would do so still.”

About this time Mr. Shelley, who had now fixed his residence at Pisa, received a letter from Lord Byron, earnestly requesting to see him, in consequence of which he immediately set out for Ravenna; and the following extracts from letters, written during his stay with his noble friend, will be read with that double feeling of interest which is always sure to be excited in hearing one man of genius express his opinions of another.

“Ravenna, August 7th, 1821.

“I arrived last night at ten o’clock, and sat up talking with Lord Byron until five this morning: I then went to sleep, and now awake at eleven; and having despatched my breakfast as quick as possible, mean to devote the interval until twelve, when the post departs, to you.

“Lord Byron is very well, and was delighted to see me. He has
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in fact completely recovered his health, and lives a life totally the reverse of that which he led at Venice. He has a permanent sort of liaison with the
Contessa Guiccioli, who is now at Florence, and seems from her letters to be a very amiable woman. She is waiting there until something shall be decided as to their emigration to Switzerland or stay in Italy, which is yet undetermined on either side. She was compelled to escape from the Papal territory in great haste, as measures had already been taken to place her in a convent, where she would have been unrelentingly confined for life. The oppression of the marriage contract, as existing in the laws and opinions of Italy, though less frequently exercised, is far severer than that of England.

“Lord Byron had almost destroyed himself at Venice. His state of debility was such that he was unable to digest any food; he was consumed by hectic fever, and would speedily have perished but for this attachment, which reclaimed him from the excesses into which he threw himself, from carelessness and pride, rather than taste. Poor fellow! he is now quite well, and immersed in politics and literature. He has given me a number of the most interesting details on the former subject; but we will not speak of them in a letter. Fletcher is here, and—as if, like a shadow, he waxed and waned with the substance of his master—has also revived his good looks, and. from amidst the unseasonable gray hairs a fresh harvest of flaxen locks has put forth.

“We talked a great deal of poetry and such matters last night; and, as usual, differed—and, I think, more than ever. He affects to patronise a system of criticism fit only for the production of mediocrity; and although all his finer poems and passages have been produced in defiance of this system, yet I recognise the pernicious effects of it in the Doge of Venice; and it will cramp and limit his future efforts, however great they may be, unless he gets rid of it. I have read only parts of it, or rather he himself read them to me, and gave me the plan of the whole.

“Ravenna, August 15th, 1821.

“We ride out in the evening through the pine forests which divide the city from the sea. Our way of life is this, and I have accommodated myself to it without much difficulty:—Lord Byron gets up at two—
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breakfasts—we talk, read, &c. until six—then we ride at eight, and after dinner sit talking until four or five in the morning. I get up at twelve, and am now devoting the interval between my rising and his to you.

“Lord Byron is greatly improved in every respect—in genius, in temper, in moral views, in health and happiness. His connexion with La Guiccioli has been an inestimable benefit to him. He lives in considerable splendour, but within his income, which is now about four thousand a year, one thousand of which he devotes to purposes of charity. He has had mischievous passions, but these he seems to have subdued; and he is becoming, what he should be, a virtuous man. The interest which he took in the politics of Italy, and the actions he performed in consequence of it, are subjects not fit to be written, but are such as will delight and surprise you.

“He is not yet decided to go to Switzerland, a place, indeed, little fitted for him: the gossip and the cabals of those Anglicised coteries would torment him as they did before, and might exasperate him into a relapse of libertinism, which, he says, he plunged into not from taste, but from despair. La Guiccioli and her brother (who is Lord Byron’s friend and confidant, and acquiesces perfectly in her connexion with him) wish to go to Switzerland, as Lord Byron says, merely from the novelty and pleasure of travelling. Lord Byron prefers Tuscany or Lucca, and is trying to persuade them to adopt his views. He has made we write a long letter to her to engage her to remain. An odd thing enough for an utter stranger to write on subjects of the utmost delicacy to his friend’s mistress—but it seems destined that I am always to have some active part in every body’s affairs whom I approach. I have set down, in tame Italian, the strongest reasons I can think of against the Swiss emigration. To tell you the truth, I should be very glad to accept as my fee his establishment in Tuscany. Ravenna is a miserable place: the people are barbarous and wild, and their language the most infernal patois that you can imagine. He would be in every respect better among the Tuscans.

“He has read to me one of the unpublished cantos of Don Juan, which is astonishingly fine. It sets him not only above, but far above all the poets of the day. Every word has the stamp of immortality. This canto is in a style (but totally free from indelicacy, and sustained
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with incredible ease and power) like the end of the second canto: there is not a word which the most rigid assertor of the dignity of human nature could desire to be cancelled: it fulfils, in a certain degree, what I have long preached,—of producing something wholly new, and relative to the age, and yet surpassingly beautiful. It may be vanity, but I think I see the trace of my earnest exhortations to him, to create something wholly new.

* * * * * *

“I am sure, if I asked, it would not be refused; yet there is something in me that makes it impossible. Lord Byron and I are excellent friends; and were I reduced to poverty, or were I a writer who had no claim to a higher station than I possess, or did I possess a higher than I deserve, we should appear in all things as such, and I would freely ask him any favour. Such is not now the case: the demon of mistrust and of pride lurks between two persons in our situation, poisoning the freedom of our intercourse. This is a tax, and a heavy one, which we must pay for being human. I think the fault is not on my side; nor is it likely,—I being the weaker. I hope that in the next world these things will be better managed. What is passing in the heart of another, rarely escapes the observation of one who is a strict anatomist of his own.

* * * * * *

“Lord Byron here has splendid apartments in the palace of his mistress’s husband, who is one of the richest men in Italy. She is divorced, with an allowance of twelve thousand crowns a year;—a miserable pittance from a man who has a hundred and twenty thousand a year. There are two monkeys, five cats, eight dogs, and ten horses, all of whom (except the horses) walk about the house like the masters of it. Tita, the Venetian, is here, and operates as my valet—a fine fellow, with a prodigious black beard, who has stabbed two or three people, and is the most good-natured-looking fellow I ever saw.

“Wednesday. Ravenna.

“I told you I had written, by Lord Byron’s desire, to La Guiccioli, to dissuade her and her family from Switzerland. Her answer is this moment arrived, and my representation seems to have reconciled them
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 513
to the unfitness of the step. At the conclusion of a letter, full of all the fine things she says she has heard of me, is this request, which I transcribe:—‘Signore, la vostra bontà mi fa ardita di chiedervi un favore, me lo accorderete voi? Non partite da Ravenna senza Milord.’ Of course, being now, by all the laws of knighthood, captive to a lady’s request, I shall only be at liberty on my parole until Lord Byron is settled at Pisa. I shall reply, of course, that the boon is granted, and that if her lover is reluctant to quit Ravenna after I have made arrangements for receiving him at Pisa, I am bound to place myself in the same situation as now, to assail him with importunities to rejoin her. Of this there is fortunately no need: and I need not tell you that there is no fear that this chivalric submission of mine to the great general laws of antique courtesy, against which I never rebel, and which is my religion, should interfere with my soon returning, and long remaining with you, dear girl.

* * * * * * *

“We ride out every evening as usual, and practise pistol-shooting at a pumpkin, and I am not sorry to observe that I approach towards my noble friend’s exactness of aim. I have the greatest trouble to get away, and Lord Byron, as a reason for my stay, has urged, that without either me or the Guiccioli, he will certainly fall into his old habits. I then talk, and he listens to reason: and I earnestly hope that he is too well aware of the terrible and degrading consequences of his former mode of life, to be in danger from the short interval of temptation that will be left him.”

“Ravenna, August 10th, 1821.

“Your conduct to Mr. Moore is certainly very handsome; and I would not say so if I could help it, for you are not at present by any means in my good graces.

“With regard to additions, &c. there is a Journal which I kept in 1814 which you may ask him for; also a Journal, which you must get
514 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Mrs. Leigh, of my journey in the Alps, which contains all the germs of Manfred. I have also kept a small Diary here for a few months last winter, which I would send you, and any continuation. You would find easy access to all my papers and letters, and do not neglect this (in case of accidents), on account of the mass of confusion in which they are; for out of that chaos of papers you will find some curious ones of mine and others, if not lost or destroyed. If circumstances, however (which is almost impossible), made me ever consent to a publication in my lifetime, you would in that case, I suppose, make Moore some advance, in proportion to the likelihood or non-likelihood of success. You are both sure to survive me, however.

“You must also have from Mr. Moore the correspondence between me and Lady B., to whom I offered the sight of all which regards herself in these papers. This is important. He has her letter, and a copy of my answer. I would rather Moore edited me than another.

“I sent you Valpy’s letter to decide for yourself, and Stockdale’s to amuse you. I am always loyal with you, as I was in Galignani’s affair, and you with me—now and then.

“I return you Moore’s letter, which is very creditable to him, and you, and me.

“Yours ever.”
“Ravenna, August 16th, 1821.

“I regret that Holmes can’t or won’t come: it is rather shabby, as I was always very civil and punctual with him. But he is but one * * more. One meets with none else among the English.

“I wait the proofs of the MSS. with proper impatience.

“So you have published, or mean to publish, the new Juans? Ar’n’t you afraid of the Constitutional Assassination of Bridge-street? When first I saw the name of Murray, I thought it had been yours; but was solaced by seeing that your synonyme is an attorneo, and that you are not one of that atrocious crew.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 515

“I am in a great discomfort about the probable war, and with my trustees not getting me out of the funds. If the funds break, it is my intention to go upon the highway. All the other English professions are at present so ungentlemanly by the conduct of those who follow them, that open robbing is the only fair resource left to a man of any principles; it is even honest, in comparison, by being undisguised.

“I wrote to you by last post, to say that you had done the handsome thing by Moore and the Memoranda. You are very good as times go, and would probably be still better but for the ‘march of events’ (as Napoleon called it), which won’t permit any body to be better than they should be.

“Love to Gifford. Believe me, &c.

“P.S. I restore Smith’s letter, whom thank for his good opinion. Is the bust by Thorwaldsen arrived?”

“Ravenna, August 23d, 1821.

“Enclosed are the two acts corrected. With regard to the charges about the shipwreck, I think that I told both you and Mr. Hobhouse, years ago, that there was not a single circumstance of it not taken from fact; not, indeed, from any single shipwreck, but all from actual facts of different wrecks*. Almost all Don Juan is real life, either my own,

* One of the charges of plagiarism brought against him by some scribblers of the day was founded (as I have already observed in the first volume of this work) on his having sought in the authentic records of real shipwrecks those materials out of which he has worked his own powerful description in the Second Canto of Don Juan. With as much justice might the Italian author (Galeani, if I recollect right), who wrote a Discourse on the Military Science displayed by Tasso in his battles, have reproached that poet with the sources from which he drew his knowledge:—with as much justice might Puysegur and Segrais, who have pointed out the same merit in Homer and Virgil, have withheld their praise because the science on which this merit was founded must have been derived by the skill and industry of these poets from others.

So little was Tasso ashamed of those casual imitations of other poets which are so often branded as plagiarisms, that, in his Commentary on his Rime, he takes pains to point out and avow whatever coincidences of this kind occur in his own verses.

516 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
or from people I knew. By the way, much of the description of the furniture, in Canto Third, is taken from
Tully’s Tripoli (pray note this), and the rest from my own observation. Remember, I never meant to conceal this at all, and have only not stated it, because Don Juan had no preface nor name to it. If you think it worth while to make this statement, do so in your own way. I laugh at such charges, convinced that no writer ever borrowed less, or made his materials more his own. Much is coincidence: for instance, Lady Morgan (in a really excellent book, I assure you, on Italy), calls Venice an ocean Rome: I have the very same expression in Foscari, and yet you know that the play was written months ago, and sent to England: the ‘Italy’ I received only on the 16th instant.

“Your friend, like the public, is not aware, that my dramatic simplicity is studiously Greek, and must continue so: no reform ever succeeded at first*. I admire the old English dramatists; but this is quite another field, and has nothing to do with theirs. I want to make a regular English drama, no matter whether for the stage or not, which is not my object,—but a mental theatre.


While on this subject, I may be allowed to mention one signal instance, where a thought that had lain perhaps indistinctly in Byron’s memory since his youth, comes out so improved and brightened as to be, by every right of genius, his own. In the Two Noble Kinsmen of Beaumont and Fletcher (a play to which the picture of passionate friendship, delineated in the characters of Palamon and Arcite, would be sure to draw the attention of Byron in his boyhood) we find the following passage:—
“Oh never
Shall we two exercise, like twins of Honour,
Our arms again, and feel our fiery horses
Like proud seas under us.

Out of this somewhat forced simile, by a judicious transposition of the comparison, and by the substitution of the more definite word “waves” for “seas,” the clear, noble thought in one of the Cantos of Childe Harold has been produced;—
“Once more upon the waters! yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me, as a steed
That knows his rider.”

* “No man ever rose (says Pope) to any degree of perfection in writing but through obstinacy and an inveterate resolution against the stream of mankind.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 517

“P.S. Can’t accept your courteous offer.

“For Orford and for Waldegrave
You give much more than me you gave;
Which is not fairly to behave,
My Murray.
“Because if a live dog, ’tis said,
Be worth a lion fairly sped,
A live lord must be worth two dead,
My Murray.
“And if, as the opinion goes,
Verse hath a better sale than prose—
Certes, I should have more than those,
My Murray.
But now this sheet is nearly cramm’d,
So, if you will, I sha’n’t be shamm’d,
And if you won’t, you may be damn’d,
My Murray.

“These matters must be arranged with Mr. Douglas Kinnaird. He is my trustee, and a man of honour. To him you can state all your mercantile reasons, which you might not like to state to me personally, such as, ‘heavy season’—‘flat public’—‘don’t go off’—‘lordship writes too much’—‘won’t take advice’—‘declining popularity’—‘deduction for the trade’—‘make very little’—‘generally lose by him’—‘pirated edition’ —‘foreign edition’—‘severe criticisms,’ &c. with other hints and howls for an oration, which I leave Douglas, who is an orator, to answer.

“You can also state them more freely to a third person, as between you and me they could only produce some smart postscripts, which would not adorn our mutual archives.

“I am sorry for the Queen, and that’s more than you are.”

“Ravenna, August 24th, 1821.

“Yours of the 5th only yesterday, while I had letters of the 8th from London. Doth the post dabble into our letters? Whatever
518 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
agreement you make with
Murray, if satisfactory to you, must be so to me. There need be no scruple, because, though I used sometimes to buffoon to myself, loving a quibble as well as the barbarian himself (Shakspeare to wit)—‘that, like a Spartan, I would sell my life as dearly as possible’—it never was my intention to turn it to personal, pecuniary account, but to bequeath it to a friend—yourself—in the event of survivorship. I anticipated that period, because we happened to meet, and I urged you to make what was possible now by it, for reasons which are obvious. It has been no possible privation to me, and therefore does not require the acknowledgments you mention. So, for God’s sake, don’t consider it like * * * * * *

“By the way, when you write to Lady Morgan, will you thank her for her handsome speeches in her book about my books? I do not know her address. Her work is fearless and excellent on the subject of Italy—pray tell her so—and I know the country. I wish she had fallen in with me, I could have told her a thing or two that would have confirmed her positions.

“I am glad that you are satisfied with Murray, who seems to value dead lords more than live ones. I have just sent him the following answer to a proposition of his:—
“For Orford and for Waldegrave, &c.

“The argument of the above is, that he wanted to ‘stint me of my sizings,’ as Lear says—that is to say, not to propose an extravagant price for an extravagant poem, as is becoming. Pray take his guineas, by all means—I taught him that. He made me a filthy offer of pounds once, but I told him that, like physicians, poets must be dealt with in guineas, being the only advantage poets could have in the association with them, as votaries of Apollo. I write to you in hurry and bustle, which I will expound in my next.

“Yours ever. &c.

“P.S. You mention something of an attorney on his way to me on legal business. I have had no warning of such an apparition. What can the fellow want? I have some lawsuits and business, but have not
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 519
heard of any thing to put me to the expense of a travelling lawyer. They do enough, in that way, at home.

“Ah, poor Queen! but perhaps it is for the best, if Herodotus’s anecdote is to be believed * * * * * *

“Remember me to any friendly Angles of our mutual acquaintance. What are you doing? Here I have had my hands full with tyrants and their victims. There never was such oppression, even in Ireland, scarcely!”

“Ravenna, August 31st, 1821.

“I have received the Juans, which are printed so carelessly, especially the fifth canto, as to be disgraceful to me, and not creditable to you. It really must be gone over again with the manuscript, the errors are so gross;—words added—changed—so as to make cacophony and nonsense. You have been careless of this poem because some of your squad don’t approve of it; but I tell you that it will be long before you see any thing half so good as poetry or writing. Upon what principle have you omitted the note on Bacon and Voltaire? and one of the concluding stanzas sent as an addition?—because it ended, I suppose, with—
“And do not link two virtuous souls for life
Into that moral centaur, man and wife?

“Now, I must say, once for all, that I will not permit any human being to take such liberties with my writings because I am absent. I desire the omissions to be replaced (except the stanza on Semiramis)—particularly the stanza upon the Turkish marriages; and I request that the whole be carefully gone over with the MS.

“I never saw such stuff as is printed:—Gulleyaz instead of Gulbeyaz, &c. Are you aware that Gulbeyaz is a real name, and the other nonsense? I copied the cantos out carefully, so that there is no excuse, as the printer read, or at least prints, the MS. of the plays without error.

“If you have no feeling for your own reputation, pray have some little for mine. I have read over the poem carefully, and I tell you, it is
520 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Poetry. Your little envious knot of parson-poets may say what they please: time will show that I am not in this instance mistaken.

“Desire my friend Hobhouse to correct the press, especially of the last canto, from the manuscript as it is. It is enough to drive one out of one’s reason to see the infernal torture of words from the original. For instance the line—
“And pair their rhymes as Venus yokes her doves—
is printed—
“And praise their rhymes, &c.
Also ‘precarious’ for ‘precocious;’ and this line, stanza 133,
And this strong extreme effect to tire no longer.
Now do turn to the manuscript and see if I ever wrote such a line: it is not verse.

“No wonder the poem should fail (which, however, it won’t, you will see) with such things allowed to creep about it. Replace what is omitted, and correct what is so shamefully misprinted, and let the poem have fair play; and I fear nothing.

“I see in the last two numbers of the Quarterly a strong itching to assail me (see the review of ‘The Etonian’): let it, and see if they sha’n’t have enough of it. I do not allude to Gifford, who has always been my friend, and whom I do not consider as responsible for the articles written by others.

“You will publish the plays when ready. I am in such a humour about this printing of Don Juan so inaccurately that I must close this.


“P.S. I presume that you have not lost the stanza to which I allude? It was sent afterwards: look over my letters and find it.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 521

“The enclosed letter is written in bad humour, but not without provocation. However, let it (that is, the bad humour) go for little; but I must request your serious attention to the abuses of the printer, which ought never to have been permitted. You forget that all the fools in London (the chief purchasers of your publications) will condemn in me the stupidity of your printer. For instance, in the notes to Canto Fifth, ‘the Adriatic shore of the Bosphorus’ instead of the Asiatic!! All this may seem little to you, so fine a gentleman with your ministerial connexions, but it is serious to me, who am thousands of miles off, and have no opportunity of not proving myself the fool your printer makes me, except your pleasure and leisure, forsooth.

“The gods prosper you, and forgive you, for I can’t.”

“Ravenna, September 3d, 1821.

“By Mr. Mawman (a paymaster in the corps, in which you and I are privates) I yesterday expedited to your address, under cover one, two paper books, containing the Giaour-nal, and a thing or two. It won’t all do—even for the posthumous public—but extracts from it may. It is a brief and faithful chronicle of a month or so—parts of it not very discreet, but sufficiently sincere. Mr. Mawman saith that he will, in person or per friend, have it delivered to you in your Elysian fields.

“If you have got the new Juans, recollect that there are some very gross printer’s blunders, particularly in the Fifth Canto,—such as ‘praise’ for ‘pair’—‘precarious’ for ‘precocious’—‘Adriatic’ for ‘Asiatic’—‘case’ for ‘chase’—besides gifts of additional words and syllables, which make but a cacophonous rhythmus. Put the pen through the said, as I would

* Written in the envelope of the preceding Letter.

522 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
mine through
* *’s ears, if I were alongside him. As it is, I have sent him a rattling letter, as abusive as possible. Though he is publisher to the ‘Board of Longitude,’ he is in no danger of discovering it.

“I am packing for Pisa—but direct your letters here, till further notice.

“Yours ever, &c.”

One of the “paper-books” mentioned in this letter as intrusted to Mr. Mawman for me, contained a portion, to the amount of nearly a hundred pages, of a prose story, relating the adventures of a young Andalusian nobleman, which had been begun by him, at Venice, in 1817. The following passage is all I shall extract from this amusing Fragment.

“A few hours afterwards we were very good friends, and a few days after she set out for Arragon, with my son, on a visit to her father and mother. I did not accompany her immediately, having been in Arragon before, but was to join the family in their Moorish chateau within a few weeks.

“During her journey I received a very affectionate letter from Donna Josepha apprizing me of the welfare of herself and my son. On her arrival at the chateau, I received another still more affectionate, pressing me, in very fond, and rather foolish, terms, to join her immediately. As I was preparing to set out from Seville, I received a third—this was from her father, Don Jose di Cardozo, who requested me, in the politest manner, to dissolve my marriage. I answered him with equal politeness, that I would do no such thing. A fourth letter arrived—it was from Donna Josepha, in which she informed me that her father’s letter was written by her particular desire. I requested the reason by return of post—she replied, by express, that as reason had nothing to do with the matter, it was unnecessary to give any—but that she was an injured and excellent woman. I then inquired why she had written to me the two preceding affectionate letters, requesting me to come to Arragon. She answered, that was because she believed me out of my senses—that, being unfit to take care of myself, I had only to set out on this journey alone,
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 523
and making my way without difficulty to Don Jose di Cardozo’s, I should there have found the tenderest of wives and—a strait waistcoat.

“I had nothing to reply to this piece of affection but a reiteration of my request for some lights upon the subject. I was answered that they would only be related to the Inquisition. In the mean time, our domestic discrepancy had become a public topic of discussion; and the world, which always decides justly, not only in Arragon but in Andalusia, determined that I was not only to blame, but that all Spain could produce nobody so blamable. My case was supposed to comprise all the crimes which could, and several which could not, be committed, and little less than an auto-da-fé was anticipated as the result. But let no man say that we are abandoned by our friends in adversity—it was just the reverse. Mine thronged around me to condemn, advise, and console me with their disapprobation.—They told me all that was would, or could be said on the subject. They shook their heads—they exhorted me—deplored me, with tears in their eyes, and—went to dinner.”

“Ravenna, September 4th, 1821.

“By Saturday’s post, I sent you a fierce and furibund letter upon the subject of the printer’s blunders in Don Juan. I must solicit your attention to the topic, though my wrath hath subsided into sullenness.

“Yesterday I received Mr. ——, a friend of yours, and because he is a friend of yours; and that’s more than I would do in an English case, except for those whom I honour. I was as civil as I could be among packages even to the very chairs and tables, for I am going to Pisa in a few weeks, and have sent and am sending off my chattels. It regretted me* that, my books and every thing being packed, I could

* It will be observed, from this and a few other instances, that notwithstanding the wonderful purity of English he was able to preserve in his writings, while living constantly with persons speaking a different language, he had already begun so far to feel the influence of

524 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
not send you a few things I meant for you; but they were all sealed and baggaged, so as to have made it a month’s work to get at them again. I gave him an envelope, with the Italian scrap in it*, alluded to in my
Gilchrist defence. Hobhouse will make it out for you, and it will make you laugh, and him too, the spelling particularly. The ‘Mericani,’ of whom they call me the ‘Capo’ (or Chief), mean ‘Americans,’ which is the name given in Romagna to a part of the Carbonari; that is to say, to the popular part, the troops of the Carbonari. They are originally a society of hunters in the forest, who took the name of Americans, but at present comprise some thousands, &c.; but I sha’n’t let you further into the secret, which may be participated with the postmasters. Why they thought me their Chief, I know not: their Chiefs are like ‘Legion, being many.’ However, it is a post of more honour than profit, for, now that they are persecuted, it is fit that I should aid them; and so I have done, as far as my means would permit. They will rise again some day, for these fools of the government are blundering: they actually seem to know nothing, for they have arrested and banished many of their own party, and let others escape who are not their friends.

“What think’st thou of Greece?

“Address to me here as usual, till you hear further from me.

“By Mawman I have sent a Journal to Moore; but it won’t do for the public,—at least a great deal of it won’t;—parts may.

“I read over the Juans, which are excellent. Your squad are quite wrong; and so you will find by and by. I regret that I do not go on with it, for I had all the plan for several cantos, and different countries and climes. You say nothing of the note I enclosed to you†, which will explain why I agreed to discontinue it (at Madame

this habit to fall occasionally into Italianisms in his familiar letters.—“I am in the case to know”—“I have caused write”—“It regrets me,” &c.

* An anonymous letter which he had received, threatening him with assassination.

† In this note, so highly honourable to the fair writer, she says, “Remember, my Byron, the promise you have made me. Never shall I be able to tell you the satisfaction I feel from it, so great are the sentiments of pleasure and confidence with which the sacrifice you have made has inspired me.” In a postscript to the note she adds, “I am only sorry that Don Juan was not left in the infernal regions.”—“Ricordati, mio Byron, della promessa che mi hai fatta. Non potrei mai dirti la satisfazione ch’ io ne provo!—sono tanti i sentimenti di piacere e di

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 525
G——’s request); but you are so grand, and sublime, and occupied, that one would think, instead of publishing for ‘the Board of Longitude,’ that you were trying to discover it.

“Let me hear that Gifford is better. He can’t be spared either by you or me.”

“Ravenna, September 12, 1821.

“By Tuesday’s post, I forwarded, in three packets, the drama of Cain in three acts, of which I request the acknowledgment when arrived. To the last speech of Eve, in the last act (i. e. where she curses Cain), add these three lines to the concluding ones—
“May the grass wither from thy foot! the woods
Deny thee shelter! earth a home! the dust
A grave! the sun his light! and Heaven her God!

“There’s as pretty a piece of imprecation for you, when joined to the lines already sent, as you may wish to meet with in the course of your business. But don’t forget the addition of the above three lines, which are clinchers to Eve’s speech.

“Let me know what Gifford thinks (if the play arrives in safety); for I have a good opinion of the piece, as poetry; it is in my gay metaphysical style, and in the Manfred line.

“You must at least commend my facility and variety, when you consider what I have done within the last fifteen months, with my head, too, full of other and of mundane matters. But no doubt you will avoid saying any good of it, for fear I should raise the price upon you: that’s right: stick to business. Let me know what your other ragamuffins

confidenza che il tuo sacrificio m’inspira.”—“Mi riveresce solo che Don Giovanni non resti all’ Inferno.”

In enclosing the lady’s note to Mr. Murray, July 4th, Lord B. says, “This is the note of acknowledgment for the promise not to continue Don Juan. She says, In the postscript, that she is only sorry that D. J. does not remain in Hell (or go there).”

526 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
are writing, for I suppose you don’t like starting too many of your vagabonds at once. You may give them the start, for any thing I care.

“Why don’t you publish my Pulci—the very best thing I ever wrote,—with the Italian to it? I wish I was alongside of you; nothing is ever done in a man’s absence; every body runs counter, because they can. If ever I do return to England, (which I sha’n’t, though,) I will write a poem to which ‘English Bards,’ &c. shall be new milk, in comparison. Your present literary world of mountebanks stands in need of such an Avatar. But I am not yet quite bilious enough: a season or two more, and a provocation or two, will wind me up to the point, and then have at the whole set!

“I have no patience with the sort of trash you send me out by way of books; except Scott’s novels, and three or four other things, I never saw such work, or works. Campbell is lecturing—Moore idling—S * * twaddling—W * * driveling—C * * muddling—* * piddling—B * * quibbling, squabbling, and sniveling. * * will do, if he don’t cant too much, nor imitate Southey: the fellow has poesy in him; but he is envious, and unhappy, as all the envious are. Still he is among the best of the day. B * * C * * will do better by-and-by, I dare say, if he don’t get spoiled by green tea, and the praises of Pentonville and Paradise-row. The pity of these men is, that they never lived in high life, nor in solitude: there is no medium for the knowledge of the busy or the still world. If admitted into high life for a season, it is merely as spectators—they form no part of the mechanism thereof. Now Moore and I, the one by circumstances, and the other by birth, happened to be free of the corporation, and to have entered into its pulses and passions quarum partes fuimus. Both of us have learnt by this much which nothing else could have taught us.


“P.S. I saw one of your brethren, another of the allied sovereigns of Grub-street, the other day, Mawman the Great, by whom I sent due homage to your imperial self. To-morrow’s post may perhaps bring a letter from you, but you are the most ungrateful and ungracious of
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 527
correspondents. But there is some excuse for you, with your perpetual levee of politicians, parsons, scribblers, and loungers. Some day I will give you a poetical catalogue of them.”

“Ravenna, September 17th, 1821.

“The enclosed lines as you will directly perceive, are written by the Rev. W. L. B * *. Of course it is for him to deny them if they are not.

“Believe me yours ever and most affectionately,


P.S. Can you forgive this? It is only a reply to your lines against my Italians. Of course I will stand by my lines against all men; but it is heart-breaking to see such things in a people as the reception of that unredeemed * * * * * * in an oppressed country. Your apotheosis is now reduced to a level with his welcome, and their gratitude to Grattan is cancelled by their atrocious adulation of this &c. &c. &c.

“Ravenna, September 19th, 1821.

“I am in all the sweat, dust, and blasphemy of an universal packing of all my things, furniture, &c. for Pisa, whither I go for the winter. The cause has been the exile of all my fellow Carbonics, and, amongst them, of the whole family of Madame G., who, you know, was divorced from her husband last week, ‘on account of P. P., clerk of this parish,’

† “The Irish Avatar.” In this copy the following sentence (taken from a Letter of Curran, in the able Life of that true Irishman, by his son) is prefixed as a motto to the Poem,—“And Ireland, like a bastinadoed elephant, kneeling to receive the paltry rider.”—Letter of Curran, Life, vol. ii. page 336. At the end of the verses are these words:“—(Signed) W. L. B. * M. A., and written with a view to a Bishoprick.”

528 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
and who is obliged to join her father and relatives, now in exile there, to avoid being shut up in a monastery, because the Pope’s decree of separation required her to reside in casa paterna, or else, for decorum’s sake, in a convent. As I could not say, with Hamlet, ‘Get thee to a nunnery,’ I am preparing to follow them.

“It is awful work, this love, and prevents all a man’s projects of good or glory. I wanted to go to Greece lately (as every thing seems up here) with her brother, who is a very fine, brave fellow (I have seen him put to the proof), and wild about liberty. But the tears of a woman who has left her husband for a man, and the weakness of one’s own heart, are paramount to these projects, and I can hardly indulge them.

“We were divided in choice between Switzerland and Tuscany, and I gave my vote for Pisa, as nearer the Mediterranean, which I love for the sake of the shores which it washes, and for my young recollections of 1809. Switzerland is a curst selfish, swinish country of brutes, placed in the most romantic region of the world. I never could bear the inhabitants, and still less their English visitors; for which reason, after writing for some information about houses, upon hearing that there was a colony of English all over the cantons of Geneva, &c., I immediately gave up the thought, and persuaded the Gambas to do the same.

“By last post I sent you ‘the Irish Avatar,’—what think you? The last line—’a name never spoke but with curses or jeers’—must run either ‘a name only uttered with curses or jeers,’ or, ‘a wretch never named but with curses or jeers.’ Because as how, ‘spoke’ is not grammar, except in the House of Commons; and I doubt whether we can say ‘a name spoken,’ for mentioned. I have some doubts, too, about ‘repay,’—’and for murder repay with a shout and a smile.’ Should it not be, ‘and for murder repay him with shouts and a smile,’ or ‘reward him with shouts and a smile?’

“So, pray put your poetical pen through the MS., and take the least bad of the emendations. Also, if there be any further breaking of Priscian’s head, will you apply a plaister? I wrote in the greatest hurry and fury, and sent it you the day after; so, doubtless, there
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 529
will be some awful constructions, and a rather lawless conscription of rhythmus.

“With respect to what Anna Seward calls ‘the liberty of transcript,’—when complaining of Miss Matilda Muggleton, the accomplished daughter of a choral vicar of Worcester Cathedral, who had abused the said ‘liberty of transcript,’ by inserting in the Malvern Mercury, Miss Seward’s ‘Elegy on the South Pole,’ as her own production, with her own signature, two years after having taken a copy, by permission of the authoress—with regard, I say, to the ‘liberty of transcript,’ I by no means oppose an occasional copy to the benevolent few, provided it does not degenerate into such licentiousness of Verb and Noun as may tend to ‘disparage my parts of speech’ by the carelessness of the transcribblers.

“I do not think that there is much danger of the ‘King’s Press being abused’ upon the occasion, if the publishers of journals have any regard for their remaining liberty of person. It is as pretty a piece of invective as ever put publisher in the way to ‘Botany.’ Therefore, if they meddle with it, it is at their peril. As for myself, I will answer any jontleman—though I by no means recognise a ‘right of search’ into an unpublished production and unavowed poem. The same applies to things published sans consent. I hope you like, at least, the concluding lines of the Pome?

“What are you doing, and where are you? in England? Nail Murray—nail him to his own counter, till he shells out the thirteens. Since I wrote to you, I have sent him another tragedy—’Cain’ by name—making three in MS. now in his hands, or in the printer’s. It is in the Manfred, metaphysical style, and full of some Titanic declamation;—Lucifer being one of the dram. pers., who takes Cain a voyage among the stars, and, afterwards, to ‘Hades,’ where he shows him the phantoms of a former world, and its inhabitants. I have gone upon the notion of Cuvier, that the world has been destroyed three or four times, and was inhabited by mammoths, behemoths, and what not; but not by man till the Mosaic period, as, indeed, is proved by the strata of bones found;—those of all unknown animals, and known, being dug out, but none of mankind. I have, therefore, supposed Cain to be shown, in the rational
530 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Preadamites, beings endowed with a higher intelligence than man, but totally unlike him in form, and with much greater strength of mind and person. You may suppose the small talk which takes place between him and Lucifer upon these matters is not quite canonical.

“The consequence is, that Cain comes back and kills Abel in a fit of dissatisfaction, partly with the politics of Paradise, which had driven them all out of it, and partly because (as it is written in Genesis) Abel’s sacrifice was the more acceptable to the Deity. I trust that the Rhapsody has arrived—it is in three acts, and entitled ‘A Mystery.’ according to the former Christian custom, and in honour of what it probably will remain to the reader.

“Yours, &c.”
“September 20th, 1821.

“After the stanza on Grattan, concluding with ‘His soul o’er the freedom implored and denied,’ will it please you to cause insert the following ‘Addenda,’ which I dreamed of during to-day’s Siesta:
“Ever glorious Grattan! &c. &c. &c.
I will tell you what to do. Get me twenty copies of the
whole carefully and privately printed off, as your lines were on the Naples affair. Send me six, and distribute the rest according to your own pleasure.

“I am in a fine vein, ‘so full of pastime and prodigality!’—So, here’s to your health in a glass of grog. Pray write, that I may know by return of post—address to me at Pisa. The gods give you joy!

“Where are you? in Paris? Let us hear. You will take care that there be no printer’s name, nor author’s, as in the Naples stanzas, at least for the present.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 531
“Ravenna, September 20th, 1821.

“You need not send ‘the Blues,’ which is a mere buffoonery, never meant for publication*.

“The papers to which I allude, in case of survivorship, are collections of letters, &c. since I was sixteen years old, contained in the trunks in the care of Mr. Hobhouse. This collection is at least doubled by those I have now here, all received since my last ostracism. To these I should wish the editor to have access, not for the purpose of abusing confidences, nor of hurting the feelings of correspondents living, nor the memories of the dead; but there are things which would do neither, that I have left unnoticed or unexplained, and which (like all such things) time only can permit to be noticed or explained, though some are to my credit. The task will of course require delicacy; but that will not be wanting, if Moore and Hobhouse survive me, and, I may add, yourself; and that you may all three do so is, I assure you, my very sincere wish. I am not sure that long life is desirable for one of my temper, and constitutional depression of spirits, which of course I suppress in society; but which breaks out when alone, and in my writings, in spite of myself. It has been deepened, perhaps, by some long-past events (I do not allude to my marriage, &c.—on the contrary, that raised them by the persecution giving a fillip to my spirits); but I call it constitutional, as I have reason to think it. You know, or you do not know, that my maternal grandfather (a very clever man, and amiable, I am told) was strongly suspected of suicide (he was found drowned in the Avon at Bath), and that another very near relative of the same branch took poison, and was merely saved by antidotes. For the first of these events there was no apparent cause, as he was rich, respected, and of considerable intellectual resources, hardly forty years of age, and not at all addicted to any unhinging vice. It

* This short satire, which is wholly unworthy of his pen, appeared afterwards in the Liberal.

532 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
was, however, but a strong suspicion, owing to the manner of his death and his melancholy temper. The second had a cause, but it does not become me to touch upon it: it happened when I was far too young to be aware of it, and I never heard of it till after the death of that relative, many years afterwards. I think, then, that I may call this dejection constitutional. I had always been told that I resembled more my maternal grandfather than any of my father’s family—that is, in the gloomier part of his temper, for he was what you call a good-natured man, and I am not.

“The Journal here I sent to Moore the other day; but as it is a mere diary, only parts of it would ever do for publication. The other Journal of the Tour in 1816, I should think Augusta might let you have a copy of.

“I am much mortified that Gifford don’t take to my new dramas. To be sure, they are as opposite to the English drama as one thing can be to another; but I have a notion that, if understood, they will in time find favour (though not on the stage) with the reader. The simplicity of plot is intentional, and the avoidance of rant also, as also the compression of the speeches in the more severe situations. What I seek to show in ‘the Foscaris’ is the suppressed passions, rather than the rant of the present day. For that matter—
‘Nay, if thou’lt mouth,
I’ll rant as well as thou—’
would not be difficult, as I think I have shown in my younger productions,—not dramatic ones, to be sure. But, as I said before, I am mortified that Gifford don’t like them; but I see no remedy, our notions on that subject being so different. How is he?—well, I hope? let me know. I regret his demur the more that he has been always my grand patron, and I know no praise which would compensate me in my own mind for his censure. I do not mind Reviews, as I can work them at their own weapons.

“Yours, &c.

“Address to me at Pisa, whither I am going. The reason is, that all my Italian friends here have been exiled, and are met there for the present, and I go to join them, as agreed upon, for the winter.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 533
“Ravenna, September 24th, 1821.

“I have been thinking over our late correspondence, and wish to propose to you the following articles for our future:

“1stly. That you shall write to me of yourself, of the health, wealth, and welfare of all friends; but of me (quoad me) little or nothing.

“2dly. That you shall send me soda-powders, tooth-powder, toothbrushes, or any such antiodontalgic or chemical articles, as heretofore, ‘ad libitum,’ upon being reimbursed for the same.

“3dly. That you shall not send me any modern, or (as they are called) new publications, in English, whatsoever, save and excepting any writing, prose or verse, of (or reasonably presumed to be of) Walter Scott, Crabbe, Moore, Campbell, Rogers, Gifford, Joanna Baillie, Irving (the American), Hogg, Wilson (Isle of Palms man), or any especial single work of fancy which is thought to be of considerable merit; Voyages and Travels, provided that they are neither in Greece, Spain, Asia Minor, Albania, nor Italy, will be welcome. Having travelled the countries mentioned, I know that what is said of them can convey nothing farther which I desire to know about them.—No other English works whatsoever.

“4thly. That you send me no periodical works whatsoever—no Edinburgh, Quarterly, Monthly, nor any review, magazine, or newspaper, English or foreign, of any description.

“5thly. That you send me no opinions whatsoever, either good, bad, or indifferent, of yourself, or your friends, or others, concerning any work, or works, of mine, past, present, or to come.

“6thly. That all negotiations in matters of business between you and me pass through the medium of the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, my friend and trustee, or Mr. Hobhouse, as ‘Alter ego,’ and tantamount to myself during my absence—or presence.

“Some of these propositions may at first seem strange, but they are founded. The quantity of trash I have received as books is incalculable,
534 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
and neither amused nor instructed. Reviews and magazines are at the best but ephemeral and superficial reading:—who thinks of the grand article of last year in any given Review? In the next place, if they regard myself, they tend to increase egotism. If favourable, I do not deny that the praise elates, and if unfavourable, that the abuse irritates. The latter may conduct me to inflict a species of satire, which would neither do good to you nor to your friends: they may smile now, and so may you; but if I took you all in hand, it would not be difficult to cut you up like gourds. I did as much by as powerful people at nineteen years old, and I know little as yet in three-and-thirty, which should prevent me from making all your ribs gridirons for your hearts, if such were my propensity: but it is not; therefore let me hear none of your provocations. If any thing occurs so very gross as to require my notice, I shall hear of it from my legal friends. For the rest, I merely request to be left in ignorance.

“The same applies to opinions, good, bad, or indifferent, of persons in conversation or correspondence. These do not interrupt, but they soil the current of my mind. I am sensitive enough, but not till I am troubled; and here I am beyond the touch of the short arms of literary England, except the few feelers of the polypus that crawl over the channels in the way of extract.

“All these precautions in England would be useless; the libeller or the flatterer would there reach me in spite of all; but in Italy we know little of literary England, and think less, except what reaches us through some garbled and brief extract in some miserable gazette. For two years (excepting two or three articles cut out and sent to you by the post) I never read a newspaper which was not forced upon me by some accident, and know, upon the whole, as little of England as you do of Italy, and God knows that is little enough, with all your travels, &c. &c. &c. The English travellers know Italy as you know Guernsey: how much is that?

“If any thing occurs so violently gross or personal as requires notice, Mr. Douglas Kinnaird will let me know; but of praise, I desire to hear nothing.

“You will say, ‘to what tends all this?’ I will answer that;—to keep my mind free and unbiassed by all paltry and personal irritabilities of praise or censure—to let my genius take its natural direction, while
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 535
my feelings are like the dead, who know nothing and feel nothing of all or aught that is said or done in their regard.

“If you can observe these conditions, you will spare yourself and others some pain: let me not be worked upon to rise up; for if I do, it will not be for a little. If you cannot observe these conditions, we shall cease to be correspondents,—but not friends, for I shall always be yours ever and truly,


“P.S. I have taken these resolutions not from any irritation against you or yours, but simply upon reflection that all reading, either praise or censure, of myself has done me harm. When I was in Switzerland and Greece, I was out of the way of hearing either, and how I wrote there!—In Italy I am out of the way of it too; but latterly, partly through my fault, and partly through your kindness in wishing to send me the newest and most periodical publications, I have had a crowd of Reviews, &c. thrust upon me, which have bored me with their jargon, of one kind or another, and taken off my attention from greater objects. You have also sent me a parcel of trash of poetry, for no reason that I can conceive, unless to provoke me to write a new ‘English Bards.’ Now this I wish to avoid; for if ever I do, it will be a strong production; and I desire peace as long as the fools will keep their nonsense out of my way*.”

* It would be difficult to describe more strongly or more convincingly than Lord Byron has done in this letter the sort of petty, but thwarting, obstructions and distractions which are at present thrown across the path of men of real talent by that swarm of minor critics and pretenders with whom the want of a vent in other professions has crowded all the walks of literature. Nor is it only the writers of the day that suffer from this multifarious rush into the mart;—the readers also, from having (as Lord Byron expresses it in another letter) “the superficies of too many things presented to them at once,” come to lose by degrees their powers of discrimination; and, in the same manner as the palate becomes confused in trying various wines, so the public taste declines in proportion as the impressions to which it is exposed multiply.

536 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“September 27th, 1821.

“It was not Murray’s fault. I did not send the MS. overture, but I send it now†, and it may be restored;—or, at any rate, you may keep the original, and give any copies you please. I send it, as written, and as I read it to you—I have no other copy.

“By last week’s two posts, in two packets, I sent to your address, at Paris, a longish poem upon the late Irishism of your countrymen in their reception of * * *. Pray, have you received it? It is in ‘the high Roman fashion,’ and full of ferocious phantasy. As you could not well take up the matter with Paddy (being of the same nest), I have;—but I hope still that I have done justice to his great men and his good heart. As for * * *, you will find it laid on with a trowel. I delight in your ‘fact historical’—is it a fact?

“Yours, &c.

“P.S. You have not answered me about Schlegel—why not? Address to me at Pisa, whither I am going, to join the exiles—a pretty numerous body, at present. Let me hear how you are, and what you mean to do. Is there no chance of your recrossing the Alps? If the G. Rex marries again, let him not want an Epithalamium—suppose a joint concern of you and me, like Sternhold and Hopkins!”

“September 28th, 1821.

“I add another cover to request you to ask Moore to obtain (if possible) my letters to the late Lady Melbourne from Lady Cowper. They are very numerous, and ought to have been restored long ago, as

† The lines “Oh Wellington,” which I had missed in their original place at the opening of the Third Canto, and took for granted that they had been suppressed by his publisher.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 537
I was ready to give back
Lady Melbourne’s in exchange. These latter are in Mr. Hobhouse’s custody with my other papers, and shall be punctually restored if required. I did not choose before to apply to Lady Cowper, as her mother’s death naturally kept me from intruding upon her feelings at the time of its occurrence. Some years have now elapsed, and it is essential that I should have my own epistles. They are essential as confirming that part of the ‘Memoranda’ which refers to the two periods (1812 and 1814) when my marriage with her niece was in contemplation, and will tend to show what my real views and feelings were upon that subject.

“You need not be alarmed; the ‘fourteen years†’ will hardly elapse without some mortality amongst us: it is a long lease of life to speculate upon. So your calculation will not be in so much peril, as the ‘argosie’ will sink before that time, and ‘the pound of flesh’ be withered previously to your being so long out of a return.

“I also wish to give you a hint or two (as you have really behaved very handsomely to Moore in the business, and are a fine fellow in your line) for your advantage. If by your own management you can extract any of my epistles from Lady ——, (* * * * * * *), they might be of use in your collection (sinking of course the names and all such circumstances as might hurt living feelings, or those of survivors); they treat of more topics than love occasionally.

* * * * * *

“I will tell you who may happen to have some letters of mine in their possession: Lord Powerscourt, some to his late brother; Mr. Long of—(I forget his place)—but the father of Edward Long of the Guards, who was drowned in going to Lisbon early in 1809; Miss Elizabeth Pigot, of Southwell, Notts (she may be Mistress by this time, for she had a year or two more than I): they were not love-letters, so that you might have them without scruple. There are, or, might be, some to the late Rev. J. C. Tattersall, in the hands of his brother (half-

† He here adverts to a passing remark, in one of Mr. Murray’s letters, that, as his lordship’s “Memoranda” were not to be published in his lifetime, the sum now paid for the work, 21001., would most probably, upon a reasonable calculation of survivorship, amount ultimately to no less than 8000l.

538 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Mr. Wheatley, who resides near Canterbury, I think. There are some of Charles Gordon, now of Dulwich; and some few to Mrs. Chaworth; but these latter are probably destroyed or inaccessible.

* * * * * *

“I mention these people and particulars merely as chances. Most of them have probably destroyed the letters, which in fact are of little import, many of them written when very young, and several at school and college.

Peel (the second brother of the Secretary) was a correspondent of mine, and also Porter, the son of the Bishop of Clogher; Lord Clare a very voluminous one; William Harness (a friend of Milman’s) another; Charles Drummond (son of the banker); William Bankes (the voyager), your friend; R. C. Dallas, Esq.; Hodgson; Henry Drury; Hobhouse you were already aware of.

“I have gone through this long list† of
‘The cold, the faithless, and the dead,’
because I know that, like ‘the curious in fish-sauce,’ you are a researcher of such things.

“Besides these, there are other occasional ones to literary men and so forth, complimentary, &c. &c. &c. not worth much more than the rest. There are some hundreds, too, of Italian notes of mine, scribbled

† To all the persons upon this list who were accessible, application has, of course, been made,—with what success it is in the reader’s power to judge from the communications that have been laid before him. Among the companions of the poet’s boyhood there are (as I have already had occasion to mention and regret) but few traces of his youthful correspondence to be found; and of all those who knew him at that period, his fair Southwell correspondent alone seems to have been sufficiently endowed with the gift of second-sight to anticipate the Byron of a future day, and foresee the compound interest that Time and Fame would accumulate on every precious scrap of the young bard which she hoarded. On the whole, however, it is not unsatisfactory to be able to state that, with the exception of a very small minority (only one of whom is possessed of any papers of much importance), every distinguished associate and intimate of the noble poet, from the very outset to the close of his extraordinary career, have come forward cordially to communicate whatever memorials they possessed of him,—trusting, as I am willing to flatter myself, that they confided these treasures to one, who, if not able to do full justice to the memory of their common friend, would, at least, not willingly suffer it to be dishonoured in his hands.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 539
with a noble contempt of the grammar and dictionary, in very English Etruscan; for I speak Italian very fluently, but write it carelessly and incorrectly to a degree.”

“September 29th, 1821.

“I send you two rough things, prose and verse, not much in themselves, but which will show, one of them, the state of the country, and the other, of your friend’s mind, when they were written. Neither of them were sent to the person concerned, but you will see, by the style of them, that they were sincere, as I am in signing myself

“Yours ever and truly,

Of the two enclosures, mentioned in the foregoing note, one was a letter intended to be sent to Lady Byron, relative to his money invested in the funds, of which the following are extracts.

“Ravenna, Marza 1mo, 1821.

I have received your message, through my sister’s letter, about English security, &c. &c. It is considerate (and true, even), that such is to be found—but not that I shall find it. Mr. * *, for his own views and purposes, will thwart all such attempts till he has accomplished his own, viz. to make me lend my fortune to some client of his choosing.

“At this distance—after this absence, and with my utter ignorance of affairs and business—with my temper and impatience, I have neither the means nor the mind to resist * * * * * * * Thinking of the funds as I do, and wishing to secure a reversion to my sister and her children, I should jump at most expedients.

“What I told you is come to pass—the Neapolitan war is declared. Your funds will fail, and I shall be in consequence ruined. That’s nothing—but my blood relations will be so. You and your child are provided for. Live and prosper—I wish so much to both. Live and
540 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
prosper—you have the means. I think but of my real kin and kindred, who may be the victims of this accursed bubble.

“You neither know nor dream of the consequences of this war. It is a war of men with monarchs, and will spread like a spark on the dry, rank grass of the vegetable desert. What it is with you and your English, you do not know, for ye sleep. What it is with us here, I know, for it is before, and around, and within us.

“Judge of my detestation of England and of all that it inherits, when I avoid returning to your country at a time when not only my pecuniary interests, but, it may be, even my personal security, require it. I can say no more, for all letters are opened. A short time will decide upon what is to be done here, and then you will learn it without being more troubled with me or my correspondence. Whatever happens, an individual is little, so the cause is forwarded.

“I have no more to say to you on the score of affairs, or on any other subject.”

The second enclosure in the note consisted of some verses, written by him, December 10th, 1820, on seeing the following paragraph in a newspaper. “Lady Byron is this year the lady patroness at the annual Charity Ball given at the Town Hall at Hinckly, Leicestershire, and Sir G. Crewe, Bart. the principal steward.” These verses are full of strong and indignant feeling,—every stanza concluding pointedly with the words “Charity Ball,”—and the thought that predominates through the whole may be collected from a few of the opening lines

“What matter the pangs of a husband and father,
If his sorrows in exile be great or be small,
So the Pharisee’s glories around her she gather,
And the Saint patronizes her ‘Charity Ball.’
“What matters—a heart, which though faulty was feeling,
Be driven to excesses which once could appal—
That the Sinner should suffer is only fair dealing,
As the Saint keeps her charity back for ‘the Ball.’” &c. &c
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 541
“September—no—October 1, 1821.

“I have written to you lately, both in prose and verse, at great length, to Paris and London. I presume that Mrs. Moore, or whoever is your Paris deputy, will forward my packets to you in London.

“I am setting off for Pisa if a slight incipient intermittent fever do not prevent me. I fear it is not strong enough to give Murray much chance of realizing his thirteens again. I hardly should regret it, I think, provided you raised your price upon him—as what Lady Holderness (my sister’s grandmother, a Dutchwoman) used to call Augusta, her Residee Legatoo—so as to provide for us all; my bones with a splendid and larmoyante edition, and you with double what is extractable during my lifetime.

“I have a strong presentiment that (bating some out of the way accident) you will survive me. The difference of eight years, or whatever it is, between our ages, is nothing. I do not feel (nor am, indeed, anxious to feel) the principle of life in me tend to longevity. My father and mother died, the one at thirty-five or six, and the other at forty-five; and Doctor Rush, or somebody else, says that nobody lives long, without having one parent, at least, an old stager.

“I should, to be sure, like to see out my eternal mother-in-law, not so much for her heritage, but from my natural antipathy. But the indulgence of this natural desire is too much to expect from the Providence who presides over old women. I bore you with all this about lives, because it has been put in my way by a calculation of insurances which Murray has sent me. I really think you should have more, if I evaporate within a reasonable time.

“I wonder if my ‘Cain’ has got safe to England. I have written since about sixty stanzas of a poem, in octave stanzas (in the Pulci style, which the fools in England think was invented by Whistlecraft—it is
542 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
as old as the hills in Italy) called ‘
The Vision of Judgment, by Quevedo Redivivus,’ with this motto—
‘A Daniel come to judgment, yea, a Daniel:
I thank thee, Jew, for teaching me that word.’

“In this it is my intent to put the said George’s Apotheosis in a Whig point of view, not forgetting the Poet Laureate for his preface and his other demerits.

“I am just got to the pass where Saint Peter, hearing that the royal defunct had opposed Catholic Emancipation, rises up and, interrupting Satan’s oration, declares he will change places with Cerberus sooner than let him into heaven, while he has the keys thereof.

“I must go and ride, though rather feverish and chilly. It is the ague season; but the agues do me rather good than harm. The feel after the fit is as if one had got rid of one’s body for good and all.

“The gods go with you!—Address to Pisa.

“Ever yours.

“P.S. Since I came back I feel better, though I staid out too late for this malaria season, under the thin crescent of a very young moon, and got off my horse to walk in an avenue with a Signora for an hour. I thought of you and
‘When at eve thou rovest
By the star thou lovest.’
But it was not in a romantic mood, as I should have been once; and yet it was a new woman (that is, new to me), and, of course, expected to be made love to. But I merely made a few commonplace speeches. I feel as your poor friend
Curran said, before his death, ‘a mountain of lead upon my heart,’ which I believe to be constitutional, and that nothing will remove it but the same remedy.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 543
“October 6th, 1821.

“By this post I have sent my nightmare to balance the incubus of * * *’s impudent anticipation of the Apotheosis of George the Third. I should like you to take a look over it, as I think there are two or three things in it which might please ‘our puir hill folk.’

“By the last two or three posts I have written to you at length. My ague bows to me every two or three days, but we are not as yet upon intimate speaking terms. I have an intermittent generally every two years, when the climate is favourable (as it is here), but it does me no harm. What I find worse, and cannot get rid of, is the growing depression of my spirits, without sufficient cause. I ride—I am not intemperate in eating or drinking—and my general health is as usual, except a slight ague, which rather does good than not. It must be constitutional; for I know nothing more than usual to depress me to that degree.

“How do you manage? I think you told me, at Venice, that your spirits did not keep up without a little claret. I can drink, and bear a good deal of wine (as you may recollect in England); but it don’t exhilarate—it makes me savage and suspicious, and even quarrelsome. Laudanum has a similar effect; but I can take much of it without any effect at all. The thing that gives me the highest spirits (it seems absurd, but true) is a dose of salts—I mean in the afternoon, after their effect*. But one can’t take them like champagne.

* It was, no doubt, from a similar experience of its effects that Dryden always took physic, when about to write any thing of importance. His caricature, Bayes, is accordingly made to say, “When I have a grand design, I ever take physic and let blood; for, when you would have pure swiftness of thought and fiery flights of fancy, you must have a care of the pensive part;—in short,” &c. &c.

On this subject of the effects of medicine upon the mind and spirits, some curious facts and illustrations have been, with his usual research, collected by Mr. d’Israeli, in his amusing “Curiosities of Literature.”

544 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“Excuse this old woman’s letter; but my lemelancholy don’t depend upon health, for it is just the same, well or ill, or here or there.

“Yours, &c.
“Ravenna, October 9th, 1821.

“You will please to present or convey the enclosed poem to Mr. Moore. I sent him another copy to Paris; but he has probably left that city.

“Don’t forget to send me my first act of ‘Werner’ (if Hobhouse can find it amongst my papers)—send it by the post (to Pisa); and also cut out Sophia Lee’sGerman’s Tale’ from the ‘Canterbury Tales,’ and send it in a letter also. I began that tragedy in 1815.

“By the way, you have a good deal of my prose tracts in MS.? Let me have proofs of them all again—I mean the controversial ones, including the last two or three years of time. Another question!—The Epistle of St. Paul, which I translated from the Armenian, for what reason have you kept it back, though you published that stuff which gave rise to the ‘Vampire?’ Is it because you are afraid to print any thing in opposition to the cant of the Quarterly about Manicheism? Let me have a proof of that Epistle directly. I am a better Christian than those parsons of yours, though not paid for being so.

“Send—Faber’s Treatise on the Cabiri.

Sainte Croix’s Mystères du Paganisme (scarce, perhaps, but to be found, as Mitford refers to his work frequently).

“A common Bible, of a good legible print (bound in russia). I have one; but as it was the last gift of my sister (whom I shall probably never see again), I can only use it carefully, and less frequently, because I like to keep it in good order. Don’t forget this, for I am a great reader and admirer of those books, and had read them through and through before I was eight years old,—that is to say, the Old Testament, for the New struck me as a task, but the other as a pleasure. I speak
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 545
as a boy, from the recollected impression of that period at Aberdeen in 1796.

“Any novels of Scott, or poetry of the same. Ditto of Crabbe, Moore, and the Elect; but none of your curst common-place trash,—unless something starts up of actual merit, which may very well be, for ‘tis time it should.”

October 20th, 1821.

If the errors are in the MS. write me down an ass: they are not, and I am content to undergo any penalty if they be. Besides, the omitted stanza (last but one or two), sent afterwards, was that in the MS. too?

“As to ‘honour,’ I will trust no man’s honour in affairs of barter. I will tell you why: a state of bargain is Hobbes’s ‘state of nature—a state of war.’ It is so with all men. If I come to a friend, and say, ‘Friend, lend me five hundred pounds,’—he either does it, or says that he can’t or won’t; but if I come to ditto, and say, ‘Ditto, I have an excellent house, or horse, or carriage, or MSS., or books, or pictures, or &c. &c. &c. &c. &c., honestly worth a thousand pounds, you shall have them for five hundred,’ what does Ditto say? why, he looks at them, he hums, he ha’s,—he humbugs, if he can, to get a bargain as cheaply as he can, because it is a bargain.—This is in the blood and bone of mankind; and the same man who would lend another a thousand pounds without interest, would not buy a horse of him for half its value if he could help it. It is so: there’s no denying it; and therefore I will have as much as I can, and you will give as little; and there’s an end. All men are intrinsical rascals, and I am only sorry that, not being a dog, I can’t bite them.

“I am filling another book for you with little anecdotes, to my own knowledge, or well authenticated, of Sheridan, Curran, &c. and such other public men as I recollect to have been acquainted with, for I knew
546 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
most of them more or less. I will do what I can to prevent your losing by my obsequies.

“Yours, &c.”
“Ravenna, October 21st, 1821.

“I shall be (the gods willing) in Bologna on Saturday next. This is a curious answer to your letter; but I have taken a house in Pisa for the winter, to which all my chattels, furniture, horses, carriages, and live stock are already removed, and I am preparing to follow.

“The cause of this removal is, shortly, the exile or proscription of all my friends’ relations and connexions here into Tuscany, on account of our late politics; and where they go, I accompany them. I merely remained till now to settle some arrangements about my daughter, and to give time for my furniture, &c. to precede me. I have not here a seat or a bed hardly, except some jury chairs, and tables and a mattress for the week to come.

“If you will go on with me to Pisa, I can lodge you for as long as you like (they write that the house, the Palazzo Lanfranchi, is spacious: it is on the Arno); and I have four carriages, and as many saddle horses (such as they are in these parts), with all other conveniences at your command, as also their owner. If you could do this, we may, at least, cross the Apennines together; or if you are going by another road, we shall meet at Bologna, I hope. I address this to the post-office (as you desire), and you will probably find me at the Albergo di San Marco. If you arrive first, wait till I come up, which will be (barring accidents) on Saturday or Sunday at farthest.

“I presume you are alone in your voyages. Moore is in London incog. according to my latest advices from those climates.

“It is better than a lustre (five years and six months and some days, more or less) since we met; and, like the man from Tadcaster in
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 547
the farce (’
Love laughs at Locksmiths’) whose acquaintances, including the cat, and the terrier, ‘who caught a halfpenny in his mouth,’ were all ‘gone dead,’ but too many of our acquaintances have taken the same path. Lady Melbourne, Grattan, Sheridan, Curran, &c. &c. almost every body of much name of the old school. But ‘so am not I, said the foolish fat scullion,’ therefore let us make the most of our remainder.

“Let me find two lines from you at the hostel or inn.’

“Yours ever, &c.
“Ravenna, Oct. 28th, 1821.

“‘’Tis the middle of night by the castle clock,’ and in three hours more I have to set out on my way to Pisa—sitting up all night to be sure of rising. I have just made them take off my bed-clothes—blankets inclusive—in case of temptation from the apparel of sheets to my eyelids.

Samuel Rogers is—or is to be—at Bologna, as he writes from Venice.

“I thought our Magnifico would ‘pound you,’ if possible. He is trying to ‘pound’ me, too; but I’ll specie the rogue—or, at least, I’ll have the odd shillings out of him in keen iambics.

“Your approbation of ‘Sardanapalus’ is agreeable, for more reasons than one. Hobhouse is pleased to think as you do of it, and so do some others—but the ‘Arimaspian,’ whom, like ‘a Gryphon in the wilderness,’ I will ‘follow for his gold,’ (as I exhorted you to do before) did or doth disparage it—‘stinting me in my sizings.’ His notable opinions on the ‘Foscari’ and ‘Cain’ he hath not as yet forwarded; or, at least, I have not yet received them, nor the proofs thereof, though promised by last post.

“I see the way that he and his Quarterly people are tending—they want a row with me, and they shall have it. I only regret that I am
548 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
not in England for the nonce; as here, it is hardly fair ground for me, isolated and out of the way of prompt rejoinder and information as I am. But, though backed by all the corruption, and infamy, and patronage of their master rogues and slave renegadoes, if they do once rouse me up,
‘They had better gall the devil, Salisbury.’

“I have that for two or three of them, which they had better not move me to put in motion;—and yet, after all, what a fool I am to disquiet myself about such fellows! It was all very well ten or twelve years ago, when I was a ‘curled darling,’ and minded such things. At present, I rate them at their true value; but, from natural temper and bile, am not able to keep quiet.

“Let me hear from you on your return from Ireland, which ought to be ashamed to see you, after her Brunswick blarney. I am of Longman’s opinion, that you should allow your friends to liquidate the Bermuda claim. Why should you throw away the two thousand pounds (of the non-guinea Murray) upon that cursed piece of treacherous inveiglement? I think you carry the matter a little too far and scrupulously. When we see patriots begging publicly, and know that Grattan received a fortune from his country, I really do not see why a man, in no whit inferior to any or all of them, should shrink from accepting that assistance from his private friends, which every tradesman receives from his connexions upon much less occasions. For, after all, it was not your debt—it was a piece of swindling against you. As to * * * *, and the ‘what noble creatures†! &c. &c.,’ it is all very fine and very well, but, till you can persuade me that there is no credit, and no self-applause to be obtained by being of use to a celebrated man, I must retain the same opinion of the human species, which I do of our friend Mr. Specie.”

† I had mentioned to him, with all the praise and gratitude such friendship deserved, some generous offers of aid which, from more than one quarter, I had received at this period, and which, though declined, have been not the less warmly treasured in my recollection.

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 549

In the month of August, Madame Guiccioli had joined her father at Pisa, and was now superintending the preparations. at the Casa Lanfranchi,—one of the most ancient and spacious palaces of that city,—for the reception of her noble lover. “He left Ravenna,” says this lady, “with great regret, and with a presentiment that his departure would be the forerunner of a thousand evils to us. In every letter he then wrote to me, he expressed his displeasure at this step. ‘If your father should be recalled,’ he said, ‘I immediately return to Ravenna; and if he is recalled previous to my departure, I remain.’ In this hope he delayed his journey for several months; but at last, no longer having any expectation of our immediate return, he wrote to me, saying—’I set out most unwillingly, foreseeing the most evil results for all of you, and principally for yourself. I say no more, but you will see.’ And in another letter he says: ‘I leave Ravenna so unwillingly, and with such a persuasion on my mind that my departure will lead from one misery to another, each greater than the former, that I have not the heart to utter another word on the subject.’ He always wrote to me at that time in Italian, and I transcribe his exact words. How entirely were these presentiments verified by the event*!”

After describing his mode of life while at Ravenna, the lady thus proceeds.

“This sort of simple life he led until the fatal day of his departure for Greece, and the few variations he made from it may be said to have arisen solely from the greater or smaller number of occasions which were offered him of doing good, and from the generous actions he was

* “Egil era partito con molto riverescimento da Ravenna, e col pressentimento che la sua partenza da Ravenna ci sarebbe cagione di molti mali. In ogni lettera che egli mi scriveva allora egli mi esprimeva il suo dispiacere di lasciare Ravenna. ‘Se papà è richiamento (mi scriveva egli) io torno in quel istante a Ravenna, e se è richiamato prima della mia partenza, io non parto.’ In questa speranza egli differì varii mesi a pertire. Ma, finalmente, non potendo più sperare il nostro ritorno prossimo, egli mi scriveva—’Io parte molto mal volontieri prevedendo dei mali assai grandi per vol altri e massime per voi; altro non dico,—lo vedrete.’ E in un altra lettera, ‘Io lascio Ravenna così mal volontieri, e così persuaso che la mia partenza non può che condurre da un male ad un altro più grande che non ho cuore di scrivere altro in questo punto.’ Egli mi scriveva allora sempre in Italiano e trascrivo le sue precise parole—ma come quei suoi pressentimenti ai verificarono poi in appresso!”

550 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
continually performing. Many families (in Ravenna principally) owed to him the few prosperous days they ever enjoyed. His arrival in that town was spoken of as a piece of public good fortune, and his departure as a public calamity; and this is the life which many attempted to asperse as that of a libertine. But the world must at last learn how, with so good and generous a heart, Lord Byron, susceptible, it is true, of the most energetic passions, yet, at the same time, of the sublimest and most pure, and rendering homage in his acts to every virtue—how he, I say, could afford such scope to malice and to calumny. Circumstances, and also, probably, an eccentricity of disposition (which, nevertheless, had its origin in a virtuous feeling, an excessive abhorrence for hypocrisy and affectation), contributed perhaps to cloud the splendour of his exalted nature in the opinion of many. But you will well know how to analyse these contradictions in a manner worthy of your noble friend and of yourself, and you will prove that the goodness of his heart was not inferior to the grandeur of his genius*.”

At Bologna, according to the appointment made between them, Lord Byron and Mr. Rogers met; and the record which this latter gentleman has, in his Poem on Italy, preserved of their meeting conveys so vivid a picture of the poet at this period, with, at the same time, so just and feeling a tribute to his memory, that, narrowed as my limits are now becoming, I cannot refrain from giving the sketch entire.

“’Twas night; the noise and bustle of the day
Were o’er. The mountebank no longer wrought
Miraculous cures—he and his stage were gone;
And he who, when the crisis of his tale
Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear,
Sent round his cap; and he who thrumm’d his wire
And sang, with pleading look and plaintive strain
Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries†,

* The leaf that contains the original of this extract I have unluckily mislaid.

† “See the Cries of Bologna, as drawn by Annibal Caracci. He was of very humble origin; and, to correct his brother’s vanity, once sent him a portrait of their father, the tailor, threading his needle.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 551
So well pourtray’d and by a son of thine,
Whose voice had swell’d the hubbub in his youth,
Were hush’d, Bologna, silence in the streets,
The squares, when dark, the clattering of fleet hoofs;
And soon a courier, posting as from far,
Housing and holster, boot and belted coat
And doublet, stain’d with many a various soil,
Stopt and alighted. ‘Twas where hangs aloft
That ancient sign, the Pilgrim, welcoming
All who arrive there, all perhaps save those
Clad like himself, with staff and scallop-shell,
Those on a pilgrimage: and now approach’d
Wheels, through the lofty porticoes resounding,
Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade
As the sky changes. To the gate they came;
And, ere the man had half his story done,
Mine host received the Master—one long used
To sojourn among strangers, every where
(Go where he would, along the wildest track)
Flinging a charm that shall not soon be lost,
And leaving footsteps to be traced by those
Who love the haunts of Genius; one who saw,
Observed, nor shunn’d the busy scenes of life,
But mingled not; and mid the din, the stir,
Lived as a separate Spirit.
Much had pass’d
Since last we parted; and those five short years—
Much had they told! His clustering locks were turn’d
Gray; nor did aught recall the Youth that swam
From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,
Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought
Flashed lightning-like, nor lingered on the way,
Waiting for words. Far, far into the night
We sat, conversing—no unwelcome hour,
The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose,
Rising, we climb’d the rugged Apennine.
Well I remember how the golden sun
Fill’d with its beams the unfathomable gulfs,
As on we travell’d, and along the ridge,
‘Mid groves of cork, and cistus, and wild fig,
His motley household came.—Not last nor least,
Battista, who upon the moonlight-sea
552 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
Of Venice had so ably, zealously
Served, and at parting thrown his oar away
To follow through the world; who without stain
Had worn so long that honourable badge,*
The gondolier’s, in a Patrician House
Arguing unlimited trust.—Not last nor least,
Thou, though declining in thy beauty and strength,
Faithful Moretto, to the latest hour
Guarding his chamber-door, and now along
The silent, sullen strand of Missolonghi
Howling in grief.
He had just left that Place
Of old renown, once in the Adrian Sea†,
Ravenna; where from Dante’s sacred tomb
He had so oft, as many a verse declares‡,
Drawn inspiration; where, at twilight-time,
Through the pine-forest wandering with loose rein,
Wandering and lost, he had so oft beheld§
(What is not visible to a poet’s eye?)
The spectre-knight, the hell-hounds, and their prey,
The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth
Suddenly blasted. ‘Twas a theme he loved,
But others claim’d their turn; and many a tower,
Shatter’d, uprooted from its native rock,
Its strength the pride of some heroic age,
Appear’d and vanish’d (many a sturdy steer‖
Yoked and unyoked), while, as in happier days,
He pour’d his spirit forth. The past forgot,
All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured
Present or future.
He is now at rest;
And praise and blame fall on his ear alike,
Now dull in death. Yea, Byron, thou art gone,
Gone like a star that through the firmament
Shot and was lost, in its eccentric course
Dazzling, perplexing. Yet thy heart, methinks,

* “The principal gondolier, il fante di poppa, was almost always in the confidence of his master, and employed on occasions that required judgment and address.”

† “Adrianum mare.—Cicero. ‡ “See the Prophecy of Dante.”

§ “See the tale as told by Boccaccio and Dryden.”

‖ “They wait for the traveller’s carriage at the foot of every hill.”

A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 553
Was generous, noble—noble in its scorn
Of all things low or little; nothing there
Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do
Things long regretted, oft, as many know,
None more than I, thy gratitude would build
On alight foundations: and, if in thy life
Not happy, in thy death thou surely wert,
Thy wish accomplish’d; dying in the land
Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire,
Dying in Greece, and in a cause so glorious!
They in thy train—ah, little did they think,
As round we went, that they so soon should sit
Mourning beside thee, while a Nation mourn’d,
Changing her festal for her funeral song;
That they so soon should hear the minute-gun,
As morning gleam’d on what remain’d of thee,
Roll o’er the sea, the mountains, numbering
Thy years of joy and sorrow.
Thou art gone;
And he who would assail thee in thy grave,
Oh, let him pause! For who among us all,
Tried as thou wert—even from thine earliest years,
When wandering, yet unspoilt, a highland-boy—
Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of flame;
Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek,
Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine,
Her charmed cup—ah, who among us all
Could say he had not err’d as much, and more?”

On the road to Bologna he had met with his early and dearest friend, Lord Clare, and the following description of their short interview is given in his “Detached Thoughts.”

“Pisa, November 5th, 1821.

“‘There is a strange coincidence sometimes in the little things of this world, Sancho,’ says Sterne in a letter (if I mistake not), and so I have often found it

“Page 128, article 91, of this collection I had alluded to my friend Lord Clare in terms such as my feelings suggested. About a week or
554 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
two afterwards, I met him on the road between Imola and Bologna, after not having met for seven or eight years. He was abroad in 1814, and came home just as I set out in 1816.

“This meeting annihilated for a moment all the years between the present time and the days of Harrow. It was a new and inexplicable feeling, like rising from the grave, to me. Clare too was much agitated—more in appearance than was myself; for I could feel his heart beat to his fingers’ ends, unless, indeed, it was the pulse of my own which made me think so. He told me that I should find a note from him left at Bologna. I did. We were obliged to part; for our different journeys, he for Rome, I for Pisa, but with the promise to meet again in spring. We were but five minutes together, and on the public road; but I hardly recollect an hour of my existence which could be weighed against them. He had heard that I was coming on, and had left his letter for me at Bologna, because the people with whom he was travelling could not wait longer.

“Of all I have ever known, he has always been the least altered in every thing from the excellent qualities and kind affections which attached me to him so strongly at school. I should hardly have thought it possible for society (or the world, as it is called) to leave a being with so little of the leaven of bad passions.

“I do not speak from personal experience only, but from all I have ever heard of him from others, during absence and distance.”

After remaining a day at Bologna, Lord Byron crossed the Apennines with Mr. Rogers; and I find the following note of their visit together to the Gallery at Florence.

“I revisited the Florence Gallery, &c. My former impressions were confirmed; but there were too many visitors there to allow one to feel any thing properly. When we were (about thirty or forty) all stuffed into the cabinet of gems and knick-knackeries, in a corner of one of the galleries, I told Rogers that it ‘felt like being in the watch-house.’ I left him to make his obeisances to some of his acquaintances, and strolled on alone—the only four minutes I could snatch of any feeling for the
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 555
works around me. I do not mean to apply this to a tête-à-tête scrutiny with
Rogers, who has an excellent taste, and deep feeling for the arts (indeed much more of both than I can possess, for of the former I have not much), but to the crowd of jostling starers and travelling talkers around me.

“I heard one bold Briton declare to the woman on his arm, looking at the Venus of Titian, ‘Well, now, this is really very fine indeed’—an observation which, like that of the landlord in Joseph Andrews on ‘the certainty of death,’ was (as the landlord’s wife observed) ‘extremely true.’

“In the Pitti Palace, I did not omit Goldsmith’s prescription for a connoisseur, viz. ‘that the pictures would have been better if the painter had taken more pains, and to praise the works of Pietro Perugino.’”

“Pisa, November 3d, 1821.

“The two passages cannot be altered without making Lucifer talk like the Bishop of Lincoln, which would not be in the character of the former. The notion is from Cuvier (that of the old worlds), as I have explained in an additional note to the preface. The other passage is also in character: if nonsense, so much the better, because then it can do no harm, and the sillier Satan is made, the safer for every body. As to ‘alarms,’ &c. do you really think such things ever led any body astray? Are these people more impious than Milton’s Satan? or the Prometheus of Æschylus? or even than the Sadducees of * *, the ‘Fall of Jerusalem’ * *? Are not Adam, Eve, Adah, and Abel, as pious as the catechism?

Gifford is too wise a man to think that such things can have any serious effect: who was ever altered by a poem? I beg leave to observe, that there is no creed nor personal hypothesis of mine in all this; but I was obliged to make Cain and Lucifer talk consistently, and surely this has always been permitted to poesy. Cain is a proud man: if Lucifer promised him kingdom, &c. it would elate him: the object of the Demon is to depress him still further in his own estimation than he was before, by
556 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
showing him infinite things and his own abasement, till he falls into the frame of mind that leads to the catastrophe, from mere internal irritation, not premeditation, or envy of Abel (which would have made him contemptible), but from rage and fury against the inadequacy of his state to his conceptions, and which discharges itself rather against life, and the author of life, than the mere living.

“His subsequent remorse is the natural effect of looking on his sudden deed. Had the deed been premeditated, his repentance would have been tardier.

“Either dedicate it to Walter Scott, or if you think he would like the dedication of ‘the Foscaris’ better, put the dedication to ‘the Foscaris.’ Ask him which.

“Your first note was queer enough; but your two other letters, with Moore’s and Gifford’s opinions, set all right again. I told you before that I can never recast any thing. I am like the tiger: if I miss the first spring I go grumbling back to my jungle again; but if I do hit, it is crushing.
* * * You disparaged the last three cantos to me, and kept them back above a year; but I have heard from England that (notwithstanding the errors of the press) they are well thought of; for instance, by American Irving, which last is a feather in my (fool’s) cap.

“You have received my letter (open) through Mr. Kinnaird, and so, pray, send me no more reviews of any kind. I will read no more of evil or good in that line. Walter Scott has not read a review of himself for thirteen years.

“The bust is not my property, but Hobhouse’s. I addressed it to you as an Admiralty man, great at the custom-house. Pray deduct the expenses of the same, and all others.

“Yours, &c.”
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 557
“Pisa, Nov. 9th, 1821.

“I never read the Memoirs at all, not even since they were written; and I never will: the pain of writing them was enough; you may spare me that of a perusal. Mr. Moore has (or may have) a discretionary power to omit any repetition, or expressions which do not seem good to him, who is a better judge than you or I.

“Enclosed is a lyrical drama (entitled ‘a Mystery’ from its subject), which, perhaps, may arrive in time for the volume. You will find it pious enough, I trust,—at least some of the Chorus might have been written by Sternhold and Hopkins themselves for that, and perhaps for melody. As it is longer, and more lyrical and Greek, than I intended at first, I have not divided it into acts, but called what I have sent Part First, as there is a suspension of the action, which may either close there without impropriety, or be continued in a way that I have in view. I wish the first part to be published before the second, because, if it don’t succeed, it is better to stop there than to go on in a fruitless experiment.

“I desire you to acknowledge the arrival of this packet by return of post, if you can conveniently, with a proof.

“Your obedient, &c.

“P.S. My wish is to have it published at the same time, and, if possible, in the same volume, with the others, because, whatever the merits or demerits of these pieces may be, it will perhaps be allowed that each is of a different kind, and in a different style; so that, including the prose and the Don Juans, &c., I have at least sent you variety during the last year or two.”

558 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.
“Pisa, November 16th, 1821.

“There is here Mr. * *, an Irish genius, with whom we are acquainted. He hath written a really excellent Commentary on Dante, full of new and true information, and much ingenuity. But his verse is such as it hath pleased God to endue him withal. Nevertheless, he is so firmly persuaded of its equal excellence, that he won’t divorce the Commentary from the traduction as I ventured delicately to hint,—not having the fear of Ireland before my eyes, and upon the presumption of having shotten very well in his presence (with common pistols too, not with my Manton’s) the day before.

“But he is eager to publish all, and must be gratified, though the Reviewers will make him suffer more tortures than there are in his original. Indeed, the Notes are well worth publication; but he insists upon the translation for company, so that they will come out together, like Lady C * * t chaperoning Miss * *. I read a letter of yours to him yesterday, and he begs me to write to you about his Poeshie. He is really a good fellow, apparently, and I dare say that his verse is very good Irish.

“Now, what shall we do for him? He says that he will risk part of the expense with the publisher. He will never rest till he is published and abused—for he has a high opinion of himself—and I see nothing left but to gratify him so as to have him abused as little as possible; for I think it would kill him. You must write, then, to Jeffrey to beg him not to review him and I will do the same to Gifford, through Murray. Perhaps they might notice the Comment without touching the text. But I doubt the dogs—the text is too tempting. * * * *.

“I have to thank you again, as I believe I did before, for your opinion of ‘Cain,’ &c.

“You are right to allow —— to settle the claim; but I do not
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 559
see why you should repay him out of your legacy—at least, not yet*. If you feel about it (as you are ticklish on such points) pay him the interest now, and the principal when you are strong in cash; or pay him by instalments; or pay him as I do my creditors—that is, not till they make me.

“I address this to you at Paris, as you desire. Reply soon, and believe me ever, &c.

“P.S. What I wrote to you about low spirits is, however, very true. At present, owing to the climate, &c. (I can walk down into my garden, and pluck my own oranges; and, by the way, have got a diarrhoea in consequence of indulging in this meridian luxury of proprietorship), my spirits are much better. You seem to think that I could not have written the ‘Vision,’ &c. under the influence of low spirits;—but I think there you err†. A man’s poetry is a distinct faculty, or Soul, and has no more to do with the every-day individual than the Inspiration with the Pythoness when removed from her tripod.”

The correspondence which I am now about to insert, though long since published by the gentleman with whom it originated‡, will, I have no doubt, even by those already acquainted with all the circumstances, be reperused with pleasure; as, among the many strange and affecting incidents with which these pages abound, there is not one, perhaps, so touching and singular as that to which the following letters refer.

* Having discovered that, while I was abroad, a kind friend had, without any communication with myself, placed at the disposal of the person who acted for me a large sum for the discharge of this claim, I thought it right to allow the money, thus generously destined, to be employed as was intended, and then immediately repaid my friend out of the sum given by Mr. Murray for the manuscript.

It may seem obtrusive, I fear, to enter into this sort of personal details; but, without some few words of explanation, such passages as the above would be unintelligible.

† My remark has been hasty and inconsiderate, and Lord Byron’s is the view borne out by all experience. Almost all the tragic and gloomy writers have been, in social life, mirthful persons. The author of the Night Thoughts was a “fellow of infinite jest;” and of the pathetic Rowe, Pope says—“He! why, he would laugh all day long—he would do nothing else but laugh.”

‡ See “Thoughts on Private Devotion,” by Mr. Sheppard.

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“Frome, Somerset, November 21st, 1821.

“More than two years since, a lovely and beloved wife was taken from me, by lingering disease, after a very short union. She possessed unvarying gentleness and fortitude, and a piety so retiring as rarely to disclose itself in words, but so influential as to produce uniform benevolence of conduct. In the last hour of life, after a farewell look on a lately born and only infant, for whom she had evinced inexpressible affection, her last whispers were, ‘God’s happiness! God’s happiness!’ Since the second anniversary of her decease, I have read some papers which no one had seen during her life, and which contain her most secret thoughts. I am induced to communicate to your lordship a passage from these papers, which, there is no doubt, refers to yourself; as I have more than once heard the writer mention your agility on the rocks at Hastings.

“’Oh, my God, I take encouragement from the assurance of thy word, to pray to Thee in behalf of one for whom I have lately been much interested. May the person to whom I allude (and who is now, we fear, as much distinguished for his neglect of Thee as for the transcendent talents thou hast bestowed on him), be awakened to a sense of his own danger, and led to seek that peace of mind in a proper sense of religion, which he has found this world’s enjoyments unable to procure! Do Thou grant that his future example may be productive of far more extensive benefit than his past conduct and writings have been of evil; and may the sun of righteousness, which, we trust, will, at some future period, arise on him, be bright in proportion to the darkness of those clouds which guilt has raised around him, and the balm which it bestows, healing and soothing in proportion to the keenness of that agony which the punishment of his vices has inflicted on him! May the hope that the sincerity of my own efforts for the attainment of holiness, and the approval of my own love to the great Author of religion, will render this prayer, and every other for the welfare of mankind, more efficacious.
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—Cheer me in the path of duty;—but, let me not forget, that, while we are permitted to animate ourselves to exertion by every innocent motive, these are but the lesser streams which may serve to increase the current, but which, deprived of the grand fountain of good (a deep conviction of inborn sin, and firm belief in the efficacy of Christ’s death for the salvation of those who trust in him, and really wish to serve him,) would soon dry up, and leave us barren of every virtue as before.’

‘July 31st, 1814.

“There is nothing, my lord, in this extract which, in a literary sense, can at all interest you; but it may, perhaps, appear to you worthy of reflection how deep and expansive a concern for the happiness of others the Christian faith can awaken in the midst of youth and prosperity. Here is nothing poetical and splendid, as in the expostulatory homage of M. Delamartine; but here is the sublime, my lord; for this intercession was offered, on your account, to the supreme source of happiness. It sprang from a faith more confirmed than that of the French poet; and from a charity which, in combination with faith, showed its power unimpaired amidst the languors and pains of approaching dissolution. I will hope that a prayer, which, I am sure, was deeply sincere, may not be always unavailing.

“It would add nothing, my lord, to the fame with which your genius has surrounded you, for an unknown and obscure individual to express his admiration of it. I had rather be numbered with those who wish and pray, that ‘wisdom from above,’ and ‘peace,’ and ‘joy,’ may enter such a mind.

“John Sheppard.”

However romantic, in the eyes of the cold and worldly, the piety of this young person may appear, it were to be wished that the truly Christian feeling which dictated her prayer were more common among all who profess the same creed; and that those indications of a better nature, so visible even through the clouds of his character, which induced this innocent young woman to pray for Byron, while living, could have the effect
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of inspiring others with more charity towards his memory, now that he is dead.

The following is Lord Byron’s answer to this affecting communication.

“Pisa, December 8th, 1821.

“I have received your letter. I need not say, that the extract which it contains has affected me, because it would imply a want of all feeling to have read it with indifference. Though I am not quite sure that it was intended by the writer for me, yet the date, the place where it was written, with some other circumstances that you mention, render the allusion probable. But for whomever it was meant, I have read it with all the pleasure which can arise from so melancholy a topic. I say pleasure—because your brief and simple picture of the life and demeanour of the excellent person whom I trust you will again meet, cannot be contemplated without the admiration due to her virtues, and her pure and unpretending piety. Her last moments were particularly striking; and I do not know that, in the course of reading the story of mankind, and still less in my observations upon the existing portion, I ever met with any thing so unostentatiously beautiful. Indisputably, the firm believers in the gospel have a great advantage over all others,—for this simple reason, that, if true, they will have their reward hereafter; and if there be no hereafter, they can be but with the infidel in his eternal sleep, having had the assistance of an exalted hope, through life, without subsequent disappointment, since (at the worst for them) ‘out of nothing, nothing can arise,’ not even sorrow. But a man’s creed does not depend upon himself: who can say, I will believe this, that, or the other? and least of all, that which he least can comprehend. I have, however, observed, that those who have begun life with extreme faith, have in the end greatly narrowed it, as Chillingworth, Clarke (who ended as an Arian), Bayle, and Gibbon (once a Catholic), and some others; while, on
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 563
the other hand, nothing is more common than for the early sceptic to end in a firm belief, like
Maupertuis, and Henry Kirke White.

“But my business is to acknowledge your letter, and not to make a dissertation. I am obliged to you for your good wishes, and more than obliged by the extract from the papers of the beloved object whose qualities you have so well described in a few words. I can assure you that all the fame which ever cheated humanity into higher notions of its own importance would never weigh in my mind against the pure and pious interest which a virtuous being may he pleased to take in my we!fare. In this point of view, I would not exchange the prayer of the deceased in my behalf for the united glory of Homer, Cæsar, and Napoleon, could such be accumulated upon a living head. Do me at least the justice to suppose, that
‘Video meliora proboque,’
however the ‘deteriora sequor’ may have been applied to my conduct.

“I have the honour to be
“your obliged and obedient servant,

“P.S. I do not know that I am addressing a clergyman; but I presume that you will not be affronted by the mistake (if it is one) on the address of this letter. One who has so well explained, and deeply felt the doctrines of religion, will excuse the error which led me to believe him its minister.”

“Pisa, December 4th, 1821.

“By extracts in the English papers,—in your holy ally, Galignani’s ‘Messenger,’—I perceive that ‘the two greatest examples of human vanity in the present age’ are, firstly, ‘the ex-Emperor Napoleon,’ and, secondly, ‘his lordship, &c., the noble poet,’ meaning your humble servant, ‘poor guiltless I.’

“Poor Napoleon! he little dreamed to what vile comparisons the turn of the wheel would reduce him!

564 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“I have got here into a famous old feudal palazzo on the Arno, large enough for a garrison, with dungeons below and cells in the walls, and so full of ghosts that the learned Fletcher (my valet) has begged leave to change his room, and then refused to occupy his new room, because there were more ghosts there than in the other. It is quite true that there are most extraordinary noises (as in all old buildings), which have terrified the servants so as to incommode me extremely. There is one place where people were evidently walled up, for there is but one possible passage, broken through the wall, and then meant to be closed again upon the inmate. The house belonged to the Lanfranchi family (the same mentioned by Ugolino in his dream, as his persecutor with Sismondi), and has had a fierce owner or two in its time. The staircase, &c. is said to have been built by Michel Agnolo. It is not yet cold enough for a fire. What a climate!

“I am, however, bothered about these spectres (as they say the last occupants were, too), of whom I have as yet seen nothing, nor, indeed, heard (myself); but all the other ears have been regaled by all kinds of supernatural sounds. The first night I thought I heard an odd noise, but it has not been repeated. I have now been here more than a month.

“Yours, &c.”
“Pisa, December 10th, 1821.

“This day and this hour (one, on the clock,) my daughter is six years old. I wonder when I shall see her again, or if ever I shall see her at all.

“I have remarked a curious coincidence, which almost looks like a fatality.

“My mother, my wife, my daughter, my half-sister, my sister’s mother, my natural daughter (as far at least as I am concerned), and myself, are all only children.

“My father, by his first marriage with Lady Conyers (an only child), had only my sister; and by his second marriage with an only
A. D. 1821. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 565
child, an only child again.
Lady Byron, as you know, was one also, and so is my daughter, &c.

“Is not this rather odd—such a complication of only children? By the way, send me my daughter Ada’s miniature. I have only the print, which gives little or no idea of her complexion.

“Yours, &c.
“Pisa, December 12th, 1821.

“What you say about Galignani’s two biographies is very amusing; and, if I were not lazy, I would certainly do what you desire. But I doubt my present stock of facetiousness—that is, of good serious humour, so as not to let the cat out of the bag†. I wish you would undertake it. I will forgive and indulge you (like a Pope) beforehand, for any thing ludicrous, that might keep those fools in their own dear belief that a man is a loup garou.

“I suppose I told you that the Giaour story had actually some foundation on facts; or, if I did not, you will one day find it in a letter of Lord Sligo’s, written to me after the publication of the poem. I should not like marvels to rest upon any account of my own, and shall say nothing about it. However, the real incident is still remote enough from the poetical one, being just such as, happening to a man of any imagination, might suggest such a composition. The worst of any real adventures is that they involve living people—else Mrs. ——’s, ——’s, &c. are as ‘German to the matter’ as Mr. Maturin could desire for his novels. * * * * * * * *.

566 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“The consummation you mentioned for poor * * was near taking place yesterday. Riding pretty sharply after Mr. Medwin and myself, in turning the corner of a lane between Pisa and the hills, he was spilt,—and, besides losing some claret on the spot, bruised himself a good deal, but is in no danger. He was bled and keeps his room. As I was a-head of him some hundred yards, I did not see the accident; but my servant, who was behind, did, and says the horse did not fall—the usual excuse of floored equestrians. As * * piques himself upon his horsemanship, and his horse is really a pretty horse enough, I long for his personal narrative,—as I never yet met the man who would fairly claim a tumble as his own property.

“Could not you send me a printed copy of the ‘Irish Avatar?’—I do not know what has become of Rogers since we parted at Florence.

“Don’t let the Angles keep you from writing. Sam told me that you were somewhat dissipated in Paris, which I can easily believe. Let me hear from you at your best leisure.

“Ever and truly, &c.
“P.S. December 13th.

“I enclose you some lines written not long ago, which you may do what you like with, as they are very harmless†. Only, if copied, or printed, or set, I could wish it more correctly than in the usual way, in which one’s ‘nothings are monstered’ as Coriolanus says.

“You must really get * * published—he never will rest till he is so. He is just gone with his broken head to Lucca, at my desire, to try

† The following are the lines enclosed in this letter. In one of his Journals, where they are also given, he has subjoined to them the following note:—“I composed these stanzas (except the fourth, added now) a few days ago, on the road from Florence to Pisa.

“Oh, talk not to me of a name great in story;
The days of our youth are the days of our glory;
And the myrtle and ivy of sweet two-and-twenty
Are worth all your laurels, though ever so plenty.
“What are garlands and crowns to the brow that is wrinkled?
‘Tis but as a dead-flower with May-dew besprinkled.
Then away with all such from the head that is hoary!
What care I for the wreaths that can only give glory?

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to save a man from being burnt. The Spanish * * *, that has her petticoats over Lucca, had actually condemned a poor devil to the stake, for stealing the wafer-box out of a church.
Shelley and I, of course, were up in arms against this piece of piety, and have been disturbing every body to get the sentence changed. * * is gone to see what can be done.

“December 12th, 1821.

“Enclosed is a note for you from ——. His reasons are all very true, I dare say, and it might and may be of personal inconvenience to us. But that does not appear to me to be a reason to allow a being to be burnt without trying to save him. To save him by any means but remonstrance, is of course out of the question; but I do not see why a temperate remonstrance should hurt any one. Lord Guilford is the man, if he would undertake it. He knows the Grand Duke personally, and might, perhaps, prevail upon him to interfere. But, as he goes to-morrow, you must be quick, or it will be useless. Make any use of my name that you please.

“Yours ever, &c.”
568 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1821.

“I send you the two notes, which will tell you the story I allude to of the Auto da Fè. Shelley’s allusion to his ‘fellow-serpent’ is a buffoonery of mine. Goëthe’s Mephistofilus calls the serpent who tempted Eve ‘my aunt, the renowned snake;’ and I always insist that Shelley is nothing but one of her nephews, walking about on the tip of his tail.”

“2 o’clock, Tuesday Morning.

“Although strongly persuaded that the story must be either an entire fabrication, or so gross an exaggeration as to be nearly so; yet, in order to be able to discover the truth beyond all doubt, and to set your mind quite at rest, I have taken the determination to go myself to Lucca this morning. Should it prove less false than I am convinced it is, I shall not fail to exert myself in every way that I can imagine may have any success. Be assured of this.

Your lordship’s most truly,
“ * *.

“P.S. To prevent bavardage, I prefer going in person to sending my servant with a letter. It is better for you to mention nothing (except, of course, to Shelley) of my excursion. The person I visit there is one on whom I can have every dependence in every way, both as to authority and truth.”

“Thursday Morning.

“I hear this morning that the design, which certainly had been in contemplation, of burning my fellow-serpent, has been abandoned, and that he has been condemned to the galleys. Lord Guilford is at
A. D. 1822. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 569
Leghorn; and as your courier applied to me to know whether he ought to leave your letter for him or not, I have thought it best since this information to tell him to take it back.

“Ever faithfully yours,